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My Reviews

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Life Changing
Magical journey

I love the way Katrina writes...everything is so down to earth, sometimes when you read words like insightful and inspiring you might be tempted to think it will be a preachy kind of book. Not so! Katrina writes about the everyday issues we all go through, making no claims to have the answers. It's a book you will reread because every year you are at a different place in your life

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Before I Go to Sleep

Excellent book. Keeps you guessing through -- Are chris's new memories real? does she trust Ben or not? I wanted more at the end

The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
 
Book Club Recommended
The Pieces We Keep

Excellent book. This book had me from the very beginning and was very hard to put down. You have to get used to reading each chapter from a different time period but its not hard. And I love how the charachters start to come together mid book. A definite book for your list!

The Boston Girl: A Novel by Anita Diamant
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
The Boston Girl

I was disappointed in this book. Maybe because i spent the money to purchase the hard cover vs getting it fro the library. I loved the Red Tent. I did not think this book was of the same caliber. If you hadn't read the review o the book its wasn't very clear she was telling her story to her granddaughter..and I would have liked to see more of a 2 way dialogue between the two She really only concentrated on the very beginning of Addie;s life...what happened once she got married, had kids, how did her "career" do after that. A little too superficial for my taste. And that disappointed me because I thought the plot was wonderful. Having said all that, it rporably is a good book for a book club.

The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
 
Book Club Recommended

A Fall of Marigolds by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Optimistic

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Romantic

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Confusing, Dramatic

Brothers and Bones by James Hankins
 
Book Club Recommended

The Professor by Robert Bailey
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous

Enduring Love by Ian McEwan
 
Dark, Confusing, Boring

The Stationery Box by Janice Blessington Kenny
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful

Vintner's Daughter: A Novel by Kristen Harnisch
 
The Vintners Daughter

good beach read but quick easy, not deep

 
Book Club Recommended
The Kept

a rather odd book -doesn't take you long to figure it out, but it is still odd and a bit gloomy

As Close As Sisters by Colleen Faulkner
 
As Close as Sisters

chic book; beach read; not my most favorite for a book club read

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
 
Fun, Romantic, Interesting
Garden Spells

I did like this book -- bit of whimsy and fantasy to it and if you don't mind this kind of story, its a good beach read. The Sequel FIRST FROST is ok, not quite as good

 
Book Club Recommended
Against Wind and Tide

its an interesting look into Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life...a bit boring at times but does make you think about choices you would make in life. And it covers a 40 year span in which culture changes dramatically

The Martian by Andy Weir
 
Adventurous, Dramatic, Fun
The Martian

you will either love this or hate it. Some of the technical parts were boring reading, but the concept of an astronaut being left on Mars and how to rescue them is an interesting one.

Sisterland: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Insightful, Dramatic
Sisterland

interesting concept that twin sisters are also psychic...one embraces her uniqueness, the other does not. But can you totally walk away from something like that? interesting read

The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Dramatic
Secret Wisdom of the Earth

I loved this book. a type of "coming of age" story without being boring.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Dark
The Book of Speculation

this is a quirky kind of book. Not my most favorite but a pretty good read. There is enough in here to keep you interested and to see what happens in the end. Good twists and revelations to the ending.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
Circling the SUn

love the characters and that they were real people. Well written, easy to ready, makes me want to know more about how people lived in Africa in this time period

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Adventurous, Slow
The Little Paris Bookshop

confusing in places but glad I stuck with it until the end. Interesting throughout but was happy with the ending

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
loved this book!

I was not a fan of "Museum of Extraordinary Things" but in this book Alice Hoffman redeems herself. Well written, a wonderful story, the characters intertwine and are wonderful. and in the end, you do understand the screts and why the characters acted as they did. Excellent discussion for book clubs

A Place at the Table: A Novel by Susan Rebecca White
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Optimistic, Interesting
interesting

The lives of three characters are interwoven in this story. While most of it centers on Bobby, a young gay man in the 70's, you spend time wondering how the other two women are going to be woven into his life. All are connected to a cafe in Manhattan and i really liked how the other brought it all together in the end.

Orhan's Inheritance by Aline Ohanesian
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
Orhans inheritance

I knew very little about this part of history so in that respect it peaked my interest and does make me want to know a bit more. I wanted a little more from the ending but not quite sure how else it could have ended. well written

Nora Webster: A Novel by Colm Toibin
 
Slow, Confusing, Boring
Nora Webser

found it without substance and boring

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Dramatic
The Double Bind

found this book to be excellent. Maybe also because I was aware of the homeless shelter in Vermont and could relate to some of the information. Ending is unexpected

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel by Kimberly McCreight
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
Reconstructing Amelia

how well does any parent know their child? some of it predictable, but good read

The Edge of Lost by Kristina Mcmorris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
The Edge of Lost

The author does a great job of interweaving the stories of two seemingly different characters. Easy read, good book

Nearer Than The Sky by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark
Nearer Than sky

if you like this author you will like this book. Interesting threads for a book club to discuss.

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Dramatic
Necessary lies

Loved the development of the characters in this book, learning about the Eugenics program, Would have loved to know more about Janes character and life after the initial story and through the rest of her life.

In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful

Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Dark
Silver Sparrow

i rated this as not for a book club but others might disagree. story is told from the perspective of both girls. I found the characters wimpy and wanted the second wife to stand up for herself more. But others might find the concepts interesting to discuss precisely because of that. I wanted a bit more from the ending. so not my favorite.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
The Invisible Wall

written in 2008 when the author was 92! He wrote this after his wife died. time period is right before WW I , set in England, where Harry's family can barely make ends meet. His father prefers to spend his money on drinking and gambling and it is Harry's mom that holds the family together. there is an "invisible wall" on Harry's street where christians live on one side and the Jews live on the other. Harry's sister does the unthinkable and falls in love with a christian and Harry must keep the secret.
this is a memoir. the author did write a sequel to this book which i have not read.

Clara Callan: A Novel by Richard B. Wright
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Interesting
not my most favorite book

not my most favorite book but now a bad story. set in the 1930's how the sisters' lives progress certainly make for a fair amount of discussion for a book club.

The House at Tyneford: A Novel by Natasha Solomons
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Insightful
house at tyneford

a kind of downton abbey book..but a little later in time and connected to the history of WW II. easy read. great romantic story laced with history

Sweeping Up Glass by Carolyn Wall
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Addictive
good read

took me a little bit to get into it in the beginning but it is a very good story

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Brilliant, Interesting
a bit dry

this is not an exciting book to read and when i first started i thought i might not finish But I fell in love with the main character Alma and found i had to keep reading got see what would happen. Its a long book but i did enjoy the story and there is a LOT for a book club to talk about.

The Orchardist: A Novel by Amanda Coplin
 
Gloomy, Insightful, Interesting

I find it dificutlt to understand these characters and how they lived as they did with little or poor communication. i would have been interested to know how Angelene had functioned as an adult after the childhood she had and being left as an orphan at 17

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting

I love all of Kate Morton's books and this one was not a disappointment. I would get a little confused flipping between time frames and characters stories, so you need to pay attention and read carefully. Excellent read.

The Given Day: A Novel by Dennis Lehane
 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Dramatic, Insightful

 
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
death of lucy kyte

the premise of the book is interesting. But if you have not read prior novels with this character, you will have a hard time understanding the issues in her modern day life

A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Fun
A Man Called Ove

many reviews state that if you liked the Unlikely Pilgrimmage of Harold Frye you will like this book. This wasn't a good incentive for me as I didn't care for Harold Frye. But I did love this book. The writing and the character in the beginning put me off a bit. But i have to admit as the chapters went on I really wanted to see what happened to this old curmudgeon. The impact one life can have on others is really the premise of this book. Its an easy read, the characters are great and it is funny as well as poignant. Great read

What She Knew: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Gloomy, Informative
good read

a great who done it with a multiple list of who could have. keeps you guessing until the end! good read.

Singing Bird by Roisin McAuley
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Adventurous
good beach read

this was suprisiingly a good story..s.imple and easy to read and kept my interest!

The Uninvited: A Novel by Cat Winters
 
Book Club Recommended

Seed of Sarah: Memoirs of a Survivor by Judith Magyar Isaacson
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative

there are many books out there about holocost survivors, This is a good one - gives you the perspective from a young girl who grows up quickly and information about what happened to women in the camps and during the war. would like to know more about what she told her family (children) as they were growing up , about her experience, as it seems she did not open up about her experiences until she was older.

The Turtle Warrior: A Novel by Mary Relindes Ellis
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Inspiring, Insightful
the turtle warrior

the lucas farm is in disrepair thanks to the neglect and drinking of John Lucas. He brutalizes his wife and two sons. The oldest, James, escapes by enlisting and going to Vietnam. That leaves young Billy tot take care of his mother. The story is told from a the point of view of a variety of characters which sometimes can be confusing - but in this case gives a variety of points of view which is excellent. The time period spans from the end of WW II to the year 2000. Very good read.

The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Interesting
Cellist of Sarajevo

it is a dark, sad book. But tells the story of that time ...a story i think is easy for the world to forget

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Informative
One Thousand White WOmen

Excellent book

The Guest Room: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
The Guest Room

Story about sex slave trafficking...so interesting from that perspective. It gives you some info regarding the background, but might not be the best book to read on it. Easy read and entertaining.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Rosemary

This book is about the Kennedy Daughter who was intellectually disabled. new sources bring her alive as a girl adored but left behind. What happened to Rosemary inspired her siblings to direct attention to the plight of the disabled. It is VERY interesting to see the thought of the times about how to treat and work with this population, how a family reacts and copes, and makes you think about what is different today from then Very good read

The Secret Chord: A Novel by Geraldine Brooks
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
The Secret Chord

Reinterprets the well known episodes of David's life - inspired by biblical references it is told through the eyes of the courtier who both counseled and castigated David and who is said to have chronicled his life. I thought it was a good story and read other reviews after I read the book. While i find myself agreeing with some of the criticism of this book, I still enjoyed the read and think it is worthwhile

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative

am not sure if i would recommend this to a book club just because is such a simple, easy read - more of a beach read. and it is the first in a series of three. But it IS based on a true historical character and that in itself is interesting and could bring some good discussion about this time in history

The Muralist: A Novel by B. A. Shapiro
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Difficult
the muralist

Alizee Benoit is an artist in the US who vanishes in NYC in 1940. no one know what has happene to her - her Jewish family in France, her artistic patron Eleanor Roosevelt, or her abstract expressionist artist friends. 70years later , her great niece Danielle is attempting to piece together what may have happened to her as she believes some paintings found hidden behind possible works of art could be attributed to her. this is by the author or the Art Forger While I don't think it is a thorough as her first book I did like. Historical fiction - it does make yo think about things that happened in that historical era. Reading criticisms after I read the book, I do agree with some - the characters are not very deep and do tend to fall flat; not a lot of difference in how the story is told even though from two different viewpoints But having said that, it held my interest, and does make you think about the events of the time. Worth the read.

 
Dramatic, Slow, Romantic
seires

i have read the entire series. decent beach reads. my least favorite was the first one - Tess because it ended without you knowing what else happened in Tess's life. You do get a sense of it in the last book , where loose needs are tied up, but it still could have been done better. books are easy reads, not very deep, and the last one is the best - brings all the characters together.

Her Fearful Symmetry: A Novel by Audrey Niffenegger
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Pointless

20 year old twin sisters have an intense attachment to each other. Their mothers sister has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. The conditions are that their parents cannot enter it and they hav ego live in it for a year (their mother and aunt were also twins). The girls move to London and become involved with their neighbors, one of which was their aunt's lover. They discover that much is still alive in that area, including possibly, their aunt.
this book was written by the same author as The Time Traveler's Wife, so it does have an underlying theme of oddness. If you can accept odd premises, very good read.

Noah's Wife by Lindsay Starck
 
Slow, Gloomy, Unconvincing
not sure I liked this...

NOah and his wife arrive in a little town in the hills where it has been raining since they can't remember when. But she and her minister husband attempt to revive the congregation but as the rain intensifies, so do all their problems. I'm not convinced I like this book I found it a bit boring at times, the plot implausible, characters were odd, and some had names and some didn't. What WAS the name of the main character? we never find out. Themes of faith, stories that connect and don't might be worth a discussion but found it difficult

Find Her by Lisa Gardner
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Insightful, Dark
Find Her

FLora Dane was a college student that was kidnapped and held for 472 days before being rescued. She has spent the past five years trying to reconnect with society. but when she is discovered bound and naked at the scene of a dead man, is she victim or vigilante? This book was excellent. A who dun nit , murder mystery, it looks at the issues of victim, perpetrator and survivor issues. So once you get past the mystery part, there are the survivor issues. Very well written

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Inspiring
The Forgetting Tie

Single mom Jane is trying to figure out what is going on with her four year old Noah. He has never been ordinary - loves to make up stories and knows trivia he shouldn't know. But his behavior is getting more odd and worrisome. The school orders her to get a psychiatric evaluation. Jerry has been diagnosed with progressive degenerative aphasia. his research for his entire life has been on chidden who remember past lives. Jane, Jerry and Noah are drawn together to try and solve Noah's issues. Good book albeit an odd premise. Lots of good discussion for a book club. not a lot of action - the story is mostly about what the characters are thinking and their reactions to the story as it unfolds. So I did find myself skimming some areas. But a good story

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Unconvincing
the girl in the red coat

you can read the synopsis of the story on the jacket and all the reviews below. I do agree with many of the criticisms of this book - it really isn't a thriller in the true sense of the word; was the faith /religion theme of the book truly believable?; the whole issue of getting to America raises many questions; the conclusion of the book was a bit rushed. So having said all that , I still thnk it was an excellent book. Is the theme of kidnapping an 8 year old unsettling? yes, especially how easily the author makes it. But isn't that a real problem in today's society? The author does a great job of providing insight into the mind of a mother whose life is now filled with grief. It did amaze me how she kept the 8 year old character from losing her identity - and am not so sure that would really happen - - but who knows. Defnitely a book to read and one that you have to read in good size chunks to keep up with the story!

No One Knows by J.T. Ellison
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Brilliant
no one knows

you can easily read the summary of this book from other reviews...so am not going to repeat myself....I totally enjoyed this book!! i get that some are tired of repeats of GONE GIRL, and it IS like that. So if you too are tired of it, do not read it. If you like a thriller with twists and turns, this one is for you. I actually do also agree with some of the criticisms but glad i didn't read them until i was done with the book. Good one to read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Slow
go set a watchman

am glad i read this book and was interesting to see other reviews. Most people either loved it or didn't like it at all. hard to describe. I personally don't think its another TKAM, and the characters are different. I did have a hard time remembering that this book was written first and that did make it confusing as I read. I would also love to know what changed in Harper Lee's mind t change some things as she then wrote TKAM. There are some good points in this book and some redeeming qualities to make it a worthwhile read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Martha's Vineyard

if you are a Susan Branch fan, you will be adding this to your collection. It is the third in a trilogy - sort of autobiographical . if you've loved her cookbooks,these three books are an excellent answer to all your questions: how did she get interested in cooking, painting; how did she get her first book published; how did she end up on Marthas' vineyard and meet Joe? Definitely more fun to read in order although i did not: The Fairy Tale Girl, Martha's Vineyard, A fine Romance. while there are fewer recipes in this book , there is still her fabulous art work. This year will be the 30th anniversary of her first cookbook -Heart of the Home and a new updated edition will be out in June.

 
Informative, Interesting, Fun
geography of bliss

would give it 2.5 stars. Thought the idea behind the title of this book was great so was curious. The author travels to some of the world's most contented and uncontested places - what can we learn from the inhabitants of different cultures, and how changing your location can change your mood. he travels to India, Bhutan, Switzerland , Iceland. What i really wanted was the Cliff Note version of his book -- the stories that he thought were "related" were a little long and much for me

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Dramatic
Drawing in the DUst

When called upon by a young Arab couple to investigate a cistern that lies beneath their home, Page Brookstone discovers more than she bargained for. The couple believes there is a reason the spirits of two lovers keep appearing in their home, while Page's colleagues believe they are insane and Page should stay away. However she investigates the site and discovers is is not a cistern but a tomb. In it are the remains of the prophet Jeremiah and possibly his lover, along with ancient scrolls. The story starts off a bit slow,,,but it does pick up and overall I did like it. At the end there are some areas that are a bit unbelievable and the scenes are stretching it a bit. but there are two love stories that intertwine and blend history and fiction.

Deadline by Sandra Brown
 
Dramatic, Interesting, Fun
deadline

mystery. Journalist back from Afghanistan suffering from post traumatic stress, covering a new development in a story that started 40 years ago with domestic terrorists. starts to cover the disappearance and presumed murder of Jeremy Wesson, the biological son of a pair who remain on the FBI"s most wanted list. As he delves into the story he finds himself having feelings for Jeremy's ex wife. Lots of twists and turns -- not a bad beach read. I liked her previous books better

Two Rivers by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Inspiring, Dramatic
Two Rivers

In Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper Montgomery is living a life overshadowed by grief and guilt. Since the death of his wife, Betsy, twelve years earlier, Harper has narrowed his world to working at the local railroad and raising his daughter, Shelly, the best way he knows how. Still wracked with sorrow over the loss of his life-long love and plagued by his role in a brutal, long-ago crime, he wants only to make amends for his past mistakes.

Then one fall day, a train derails in Two Rivers, and amid the wreckage Harper finds an unexpected chance at atonement. One of the survivors, a pregnant fifteen-year-old girl with mismatched eyes and skin the color of blackberries, needs a place to stay. Though filled with misgivings, Harper offers to take Maggie in. But it isn't long before he begins to suspect that Maggie's appearance in Two Rivers is not the simple case of happenstance it first appeared to be.

this was not my favorite Greenwood book. it did take me at least 1/2 of the book to get hooked. i don't agree with the reviewers who gave it 5 starts - don't think it was that fantastic. However I am glad I stuck with it and had everything come together at the end. I would agree with some of the constructive criticism that the characters are a bit cliche, and there did seem to be a lot of meandering around the story.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Insightful, Informative
the movement of starts

t is 1845 and Hannah Price has lived all her life according to the principles of the Nantucket Quaker community in which she was raised. She is an Astronomer and she dreams of discovering a comet (this is historical fiction based on the life of Maria Mitchell who WAS a young woman who discovered a comet) Then she meets Isaac Martin, a dark skinned whaler from the Azores who has ambitions beyond his expected station in life. Hannah agrees to tai him on as a student, meeting with him for private tutorials in her fathers' observatory. Their shared passion for astronomy develops into something deeper and her standing in the community begins to unravel , challenging her beliefs about life and love. There is a feminist thread, as well as a religious one involving quakers and questioning the beliefs. Not my most favorite book but interesting. I found the beginning sluggish and hard to get into. I did not find the "romance" part believable, at least based on how the author described it. But I did find her passion for astronomy interesting and her continued efforts to find what she knew was out there in the heavens. Also found the feminist thread interesting - that she would stand up and no fold into what society wanted her to do. I found the ending abrupt and would have liked a little more

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Difficult, Dark
the third life of grange copeland

would give this three 1/2 stars. Grange copeland is a black tenant farmer in Georgia. Despondent over the futility of life in the south, he leaves his wife and son to head north. Life isn't what he expected there either, and ends up coming back to Georgia to try and right some things he has done wrong. He returns to his where is son is grown, married, with children, and just in time to help raise his granddaughter after his son is sent to jail for killing his wife. It is a disturbing book about violence in the black community in the 50's and 60's and what life is like for them the. Some of this is based on real happenings in the author's life. It is her first book. I did find it hard to get into and did find it hard to read about this kind of life. but it is definitely worth the read.

Leisure Seeker, The: A Novel by Michael Zadoorian
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Difficult
Leisure Seeker

The Robinas have shared a wonderful life for over 60 years. Now in their 80's, Ella suffers from cancer and John has Alzheimers. Yearning for one last adventure, the self proclaimed "down on their luck geezers" kidnap themselves, leave their adult children and doctors, and leave their Detroit suburban home on a forbidden vacation. Ella is the co pilot and John drives their 78 Leisure Seeker RV along Rt 66 toward Disneyland in search of a past they are having a hard time remembering.
This is a bit of a depressing story - you know how it is going to end. It catches you because it is so real. If you were in their positions , you might make the same choices. They are taking their lives in their own hands and finishing it the way they want. Not a bad read

The Nest by Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Fun
the nest

you can read the premise of the book in other reviews so i won't reiterate here. It is not the best book I've ever read but definitely entertaining. I agree with most of the positive AND constructive comments. I do think the family dynamics are interesting and like the fact that the dynamics change from beginning to end, Having said that, the characters mostly drove me crazy and I wanted to slap all of them at some point throughout the story. But feeling so strongly about characters in a story must be a sign of a good read I think. Yes they are shallow and yes they are insufferable - as are many people in real life. Worth the read

The Widow by Fiona Barton
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark, Dramatic
The Widow

would give this three stars. Not quite sure how I feel about it. jean is married to a man that is accused of kidnapping a child. There is not enough evidence to bring him to trial and she has always been the obedient wife, standing by him. when he is hit by a car and is killed, everyone wants her story. What was it like to live with that man, etc? i'm not so sure i would call it a "riveting" story. It is interesting , but the ending seems to be rushed and a little anticlimactic. You feel badly for jean and the circumstances she is put in, but you do wonder why she stays in the situation she does. Worth the read.

While Beauty Slept by Elizabeth Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Dramatic, Addictive
while beauty slept

Elise hears her great granddaughter recount a tale about a beautiful princes awakened by a handsome prince. It pushes open door to the past. For Elise was the companion to the real princess who slumbered - and she is the only one left who knows the truth of what happened so many years ago. As the memories start to unfold, Elise is plunged back into that magnificent world. Fleeing a harsh existence, she builds a new life for herself as a servant to the royal family. Elise has guarded their secrets - and her own - for a lifetime. This is her story.
Not an exceptionally "deep" book, but definitely a fun and interesting read. In fact, i read it two years ago and reread for a book club choice and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

Tinkers by Paul Harding
 
Beautiful, Slow, Difficult
Tinkers

I had a hard enough time understanding the reviews on the back flap of this book, let alone understanding the book. george is dying and in his last fews days , as he drifts in and out of conscsiouness, he relives his life and memories of his father. But they are not just his memories. The story of his father is told as well. One paragraph you are in george's life, the next you are in his fathers - difficult to follow. The ending was abrupt. Did not care for this book at all.

The Yearbook by Carol Masciola
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Addictive
the yearbook

Misfit teen Lola is failing in school, living in a group home, social workers watching her like a hawk and wiring for her to show signs of the mental illness that killed her mother. She falls asleep in a storage room in the school after finding an old yearbook. she wakes up in that time period - 80 year in the past. She is determined to make a new future for herself in this past - but is it real? Short , easy read. a bit fantastic maybe but a good page turner! highly recommend it.

My Antonia by Willa Cather
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Pointless, Insightful
My Antonia

three and 1/2 stars. Read this in high school and just re read for a book club. I found that one reviewer states it didn't have much of a plot but that the words create pictures of the west. i would say that's an accurate description of this book. It is a story about home and homesickness and numerous other smaller stories about immigrants and their life when they come to the west. I sometimes find writers go overboard on "descriptions" and the story gets boring. But I don't think this does that - you get enough description of what it was like to live the hard life in the west without being ready to toss the book down. And its just the right length. Glad I reread this book.

The Things We Keep: A Novel by Sally Hepworth
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Romantic
The Things We Keep

i would give this 3 1/2 to 4. easy read. good beach read. A bit depressing since the main character is 38 with early onset Alzheimers. She is put in an assisted living facility where she unexpectedly finds love with another resident. Eve finds herself suddenly a single mother at the same facility and is put in a position where she has to decide how far she will go to help the two in love. Raises a lot of ethical questions for discussion.

Playing with Fire by Tess Gerritsen
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Dramatic

Undressing The Moon by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Dramatic
undressing the moon

At 30 Piper feels too young to be dying. Cancer has eaten away her strength;; she'd be alone but for a childhood friend who has come home by chance. Yet with the questions of her future before her, she's adrift in the past, remembering the fateful summer she turned 14 and her life changed forever.
Her nervous father's job search seemed stalled as he hung around the house watching her mother's every move. Finally her restless, artistic mother finally left. With no one to rely on Piper struggled to hold on to what was important. She had a brother who loved her, a teacher enthralled with her potential.
A good story but I still felt things lacking. I would have liked closure between Piper and her teacher, closure between her and her mother. I wanted her and Becca to fight for the bone marrow transplant. I would have like Becca's character to be fleshed out a bit more. but definitely worth the read.

The Arrivals: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative
the arrivals

It's early summer when Ginny and William's peaceful life in Vermont comes to an abrupt halt.

First, their daughter Lillian arrives, with her two children in tow, to escape her crumbling marriage. Next, their son Stephen and his pregnant wife Jane show up for a weekend visit, which extends indefinitely when Jane ends up on bed rest. When their youngest daughter Rachel appears, fleeing her difficult life in New York, Ginny and William find themselves consumed again by the chaos of parenthood - only this time around, their children are facing adult problems.

By summer's end, the family gains new ideas of loyalty and responsibility, exposing the challenges of surviving the modern family - and the old adage, once a parent, always a parent, has never rung so true. (less)

many reviewers felt like this was real life. I thought the adult children were whiney and spoiled. I get a little of the whiney part because of the situations they were going through, but it continued and I found them thoughtless. Which is what led to the missing child at the end . You don't let a 3 year old out of car, tell her to go in the house and then leave. so seriously, that character annoyed me. It took a long time for Ginny to say something and then when she did, she backtracked when she found out why Lillian was there. Maybe realistic because all us adult parents would help our kids in these situations. Not my favorite book BUT a lot to discuss for a book club.

 
Fun, Interesting, Slow
stories I only tell my friends

three if you like to read star autobiographies. It was fair - - interesting stories and amazing situations he has been in , in his life. But I wouldn't have missed it if I didn't read it.

The Two-Family House: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
the two family house

In the middle of a blizzard in a two family brownstone, two babies are born minutes apart. The mothers are sisters in laws. Rose has three girls and is a dutiful, quiet wife who wants nothing more than to please her husband. Helen is warm and generous and the exhausted mother of 4 boys. They raise their families side by side, supporting each other. When the storm passes, life seems to return to normal , but as the years progress, small cracks start to appear and the once deep friendship between the two women begins to unravel. no one know why and no one can stop it. I did love this book. I loved how the characters evolved, even if you guessed the issues and why they were occurring. Good read

 
Interesting, Life Changing, Informative
the finest hours

n the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.



In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.



The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.
was a little dry to read but an amazing story and hard to believe men will go out into the sea for these kinds of rescues

The Awakening by Kate Chopin
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the awakening

the story of one woman's search for personal freedom. written in 1899 it was far ahead of its time and aroused a storm of controversy. I always have difficulty reading older books or classics. This one was easier to read. While it was not the most exciting book I've read, you do have to appreciate the subject matter and how the author follows it , for a book written in 1899. Although i can't agree with the descriptions some give it. Examples: I would not describe it as a "passionate physical love affair" - I didn't get that from the writing. Some other reviews find the main character self centered and believe she had other options - not so sure she did in that time frame. Would make for good discussion in a book group.

America's First Daughter: A Novel by Stephanie Dray, Laura Kamoie
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
america's first daughter

If you like historical fiction, this is a good one. Ihave to admit it started out slow for me and i wasn't too sure about it. But the more you get into the story and the history, the more you want to know. Patsy is Thomas Jefferson's oldest daughter. She knows he loves his family but he devotion to his country runs deep. When her mother dies, Patsy has made a death bed promise and she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion. She witnesses two revolutions (american and french), learns about her fathers liaison with Sally Hemings, etc. The themes present throughout this book - sacrifice and women's limited choices in this revolutionary era- can create hours of discussion. Almost everything we know of Thomas Jefferson is what she let pass to us in posterity in family papers -- which historians agree were certainly edited, both in which ones we have and by what is not there. Makes you want to learn more of Thomas Jefferson and Monticello. Good read

Most Wanted by Lisa Scottoline
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Insightful
Most Wanted

Christine and her husband are desperate for a baby. Unable to conceive, they decide to use a donor. Two months pass and Christine is pregnant. But one day she is shocked to see a young blonde man on the TV news being arrested for a series of brutal murders. He bears an undeniable resemblance to her donor. Christine feels she must delve deeper to find out if he is indeed her donor. What would you do if the biological father of your unborn child was a serial killer? A major thread in this book is infertility and the issue of testing for sperm donors. Good information. but I did find the character of Christine unbelievable. Seriously......you would pick up everything and go to a prison to meet the arrested alleged killer in an attempt to find out if he was innocent and our donor? then you play detective because you do believe he is innocent? And her husbands reaction to all of what is going on is over the top.

The Affair by Colette Freedman
 
Book Club Recommended
the affair

would give this a three to 3.5. Ater 18 years of marriage , Kate has settled into a pattern of comfortable routines with teenagers, supporting her husband in his business and taking care of their home. Then one day she discovers a suspicious number on her husbands cell phone. Six years ago she accused him of infidelity which he denied. Now she must decide whether to follow her suspicions at the risk of losing everything or true the man with whom she has built a life. She is confronted with surprising truths about friends , family and her own motivations. An interesting premise for a book, and told from all three perspectives: the wife, the husband, the mistress. I did like that part of it but by the time you reach the mistresses viewpoint you are tired of reading the same story again - maybe necessary, but repetitive and boring. Seems reviewers either loved this or disliked it. It did resolve rather abruptly but it does a good job of looking at viewpoints.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
A Good Man

 
Adventurous, Interesting
Death at La Fenice

There is little violent crime in Venice. But the evils that does occasionally rear its head is the jurisdiction of Guido Brunetti, the suave, urbane, vice commissario of police and a genius at detection. Now all of his admirable abilities must come into play in the deadly affair of Maestro Helmut Wellauer, a world renowned conductor who died painfully from cyanide poisoning during an intermission at La Fenice. As the investigation unfolds, a chilling picture slowly begins to take shape - - a detailed portrait of revenge. The challenge will be narrowing the suspects to one.
pretty good mystery....there is a series of books following with the same policy commissario.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Beautiful
the rainbow comes and goes


Mother and son spend a year sharing their most private thoughts via email. It's helpful if you know a little of Gloria Vanderbilt's life history but Cooper tries to fill in where appropriate so you understand the conversations. Its an interesting way to write a book -- I liked it. When his mother turned 91 and was ill, Cooper did this because he didn't want anything left unsaid between them, as he realized her mortality. Thoughtful reflections on life, bonds between parent and child and certainly a fascinating life story.

Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir by Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin
 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Mrs Kennedy and Me

3.5 stars
secret service agent Clint Hill was assigned to guard First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy. He envisioned read parties, etc. But as soon as he met her , he was swept up in her spirit, humor, etc. He was her SS agent for four years - through numerous family events both happy and sad. This is his story of the intimate moments of that assignment and his relationships with the then first family. He will forever be remembered as the agent who courageously raced to the back of the presidential limo in the middle of JFK's assassination. was an interesting book --his memoirs and take of that period in history. Its interesting to see how Jackie pictured how her life in the WHite House should be and how she tried to arrange her family's life. you keep having to remind yourself of the period in time - no cell phones, less of a visible role for the First Lady, journalism and TV not as immediately available as of today. Also interesting to see how much time she actually spent away from the WHtie House. AN interesting read.

The Rift by Walter J. Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic
the Rift

wrtten in 1999....NOvel about the largest earthquake since 1755...8.9 on the Richter scale. Takes place in New Madrid Missouri. Scientists had predicted the disaster but no one paid any attention. Within minutes there is nothing but chaos and ruin as America's heartland falls into the nightmare know as the rift. - a fault line in the earth. The real terror begins for the survivors: nuclear waste in the water supply, a sheriff KKK who seeks racial vengeance, et.c. A very long book but interesting, especially since there is in deed a large fault across middle America.

The Flying Circus by Susan Crandall
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Addictive
The Flyng Circus

From the bestselling and award-winning author of Whistling Past the Graveyard comes an adventure tale about two daredevils and a farm boy who embark on the journey of a lifetime across America’s heartland in the Roaring Twenties.

Set in the rapidly changing world of 1920s America, this is a story of three people from very different backgrounds: Henry “Schuler” Jefferson, son of German immigrants from Midwestern farm country; Cora Rose Haviland, a young woman of privilege whose family has lost their fortune; and Charles “Gil” Gilchrist, an emotionally damaged WWI veteran pilot. Set adrift by life-altering circumstances, they find themselves bound together by need and torn apart by blind obsessions and conflicting goals. Each one holds a secret that, if exposed, would destroy their friendship. But their journey of adventure and self-discovery has a price—and one of them won’t be able to survive it.

As they crisscross the heartland, exploring the rapidly expanding role of aviation from barnstorming to bootlegging, from a flying circus to the dangerous sport of air racing, the three companions form a makeshift family. It’s a one-of-a-kind family, with members as adventurous as they are vulnerable, and as fascinating as they are flawed. But whatever adventure—worldly or private—they find themselves on, they’re guaranteed to be a family you won’t forget.
some did think this book was a bit gloomy...and in some spots it was. But I liked the way the author developed the characters and intertwined them. I liked reading about this period in history....I would have liked the ending to be a bit more in depth. But still an excellent book.

 
Epic, Interesting, Informative
Fortune's Children:The Fall of the House of Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt: The very name is synonymous with the Gilded Age. The family patriarch, "the Commodore,” built a fortune that made him the world's richest man by 1877. Yet, less than fifty years after his death, no Vanderbilt was counted among the world's richest people. Written by descendant Arthur T. Vanderbilt II, Fortune's Children traces the dramatic and amazingly colorful history of this great American family, from the rise of industrialist and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt to the fall of his progeny—wild spendthrifts whose profligacy bankrupted a vast inheritance.

A Star for Mrs. Blake by April Smith
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
a star for mrs blake

would give this three and a half
The United States Congress in 1929 passed legislation to fund travel for mothers of the fallen soldiers of World War I to visit their sons’ graves in France. Over the next three years, 6,693 Gold Star Mothers made the trip. In this emotionally charged, brilliantly realized novel, April Smith breathes life into a unique moment in American history, imagining the experience of five of these women.

They are strangers at the start, but their lives will become inextricably intertwined, altered in indelible ways. These very different Gold Star Mothers travel to the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery to say final good-byes to their sons and come together along the way to face the unexpected: a death, a scandal, and a secret revealed.

None of these pilgrims will be as affected as Cora Blake, who has lived almost her entire life in a small fishing village off the coast of Maine, caring for her late sister’s three daughters, hoping to fill the void left by the death of her son, Sammy, who was killed on a scouting mission during the final days of the war. Cora believes she is managing as well as can be expected in the midst of the Depression, but nothing has prepared her for what lies ahead on this unpredictable journey, including an extraordinary encounter with an expatriate American journalist, Griffin Reed, who was wounded in the trenches and hides behind a metal mask, one of hundreds of “tin noses” who became symbols of the war.

Interesting book....I do like historical fiction and this is a time period where there is very little. Seems reviewers either liked it or not...very mixed. I do thnk it was on the slow side . But while it was a book i could easily put down, I am glad I finished it. As usual, i wanted more closure for some of the characters at the end. It was a bout a little know fact and time period of American history. I think that it would lend itself to interesting discussion at a book club!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Life Changing, Dramatic
Sudden Sea

3-4 stars
It was the perfect storm but instead of raging far out in the Atlantic, the Great Hurricane of 1938 left a wake of death and destruction across seven states. Sudden Sea re creates that terrifying september day in detail, focusing on the human drama that unfolded in an unlikely alignment of meteorological conditions. The entire coastline of New England was remapped. The book draws on newspaper accounts, personal testimony of survivors and archival footage. Families and communities were totally changed. Fascinating book and shows you how little we could forecast in this time period and how slow communication was. Good read if you like this kind of book

 
Informative
Growing up Patton

if you like history info, you will like this. Written by the grandson of the WW II general George S. Patton. Benjamin is a documentary filmmaker, and explores his family legacy. You learn a bit more about the WW II general and how , even though absent, he was a parent to the authors father , who followed in the generals footsteps and became as respected and decorated as the general. some of it is dry, but interesting insight into both military figures and a time in history.

The Precious One: A Novel by Marisa de los Santos
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Romantic
The Precious One

In all her life, Eustacia “Taisy” Cleary has given her heart to only three men: her first love, Ben Ransom; her twin brother, Marcus; and Wilson Cleary—professor, inventor, philanderer, self-made millionaire, brilliant man, breathtaking jerk—her father.

Seventeen years ago, Wilson ditched his first family for Caroline, a beautiful young sculptor. In all that time, Taisy’s family has seen Wilson, Caroline, and their daughter, Willow, only once.

Why then, is Wilson calling Taisy now, inviting her for an extended visit, encouraging her to meet her pretty sister—a teenager who views her with jealousy, mistrust, and grudging admiration? Why, now, does Wilson want Taisy to help him write his memoir?

Told in alternating voices—Taisy’s strong, unsparing observations and Willow’s naive, heartbreakingly earnest yearnings—
themes are second chances, starting over and the dynamics of the family unit
i liked the fact that it was told from two different viewpoints....did not make it confusing. And I loved the two major characters. Good read.

 
Interesting, Slow, Boring
Calico Palace

his thrilling story of the California gold rush is not about the forty-niners, the prospectors who came rushing to the San Francisco area in 1849, but about the men and women who were there when it all began with the first discovery of gold in 1848, when San Francisco was a village of 900 people. These were the people who went up to the hills and came back staggering under the weight of the treasure they carried, and who began transforming San Francisco from a shantytown into one of the most brilliant cities in the world.

This novel tells the unforgettable story of how these people walked into one of the most spectacular adventures in the world’s history. They saw the first samples of gold brought to the quartermaster, who said they were flakes of yellow mica. They were there when the first people who saw the gold were laughed at and called “crackbrains.” And they laid the foundation of the golden empire before the first forty-niners got there. Some of them could not meet the demands of this strange new world; others grew stronger and shared the greatness of the country they had helped build. Calico Palace is their story brought to vivid life.
I did find it interesting to her about 'life" in SF during this time...not just gold rush stories. But it is a slow book in a lot of places ....the ending was drawn out so much it was painful. Not sure I would recommend this to read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting
The Shortest Way Home

Three decades ago, Sean Doran’s mother died at 33 of Huntington’s disease, and his father, a merchant marine, left Sean and his two siblings in the care of their cold and distant Aunt Vivian. Though the siblings grow up aware of the threat of Huntington’s, they’ve never been tested; Sean’s sentiment, “I didn’t take it. I didn’t want to know,” is shared by all. Sean, now 44, has spent years exploring the world as a nurse, from one war-torn region to another. But when his brother, Hugh, dies of pneumonia, his sister, Deidre, puts her acting career on hold to care for Hugh’s son, Kevin, and their aunt, who she says has “lost it.” Sean returns from Africa and assumes the parental burden, a responsibility for which he is ill equipped. Soon, he reconnects with Becky, his childhood friend, but their budding romance is threatened by Sean’s pathological reluctance to put down roots, and he has to finally decide what’s most important to him.
I like this author and I liked this book...even though the main character of Sean annoyed me a bit. Yes he has been in out of touch places but seriously -- he could have gotten a cell phone and computer for the time he was coming back to his family in order to assimilate SOMEWHAT into every day life. That was bit unbelievable to me. there was not a not of development of the sister character (Deirdre)..while you know she stayed home and held down the fort , you do not get much of a sense of what her life was really like. A good read though.

The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
space between us

Set in contemporary Bombay, Umrigar's second novel (Bombay Time, 2001) is an affecting portrait of a woman and her maid, whose lives, despite class disparity, are equally heartbreaking. Though Bhima has worked for the Dubash family for decades and is coyly referred to as "one of the family," she nonetheless is forbidden from sitting on the furniture and must use her own utensils while eating. For years, Sera blamed these humiliating boundaries on her husband Feroz, but now that he's dead and she's lady of the house, the two women still share afternoon tea and sympathy with Sera perched on a chair and Bhima squatting before her. Bhima is grateful for Sera, for the steady employment, for what she deems friendship and, mostly, for the patronage Sera shows Bhima's granddaughter Maya. Orphaned as a child when her parents died of AIDS, Bhima raised Maya and Sera saw to her education. Now in college, Maya's future is like a miracle to the illiterate Bhima-her degree will take them out of the oppressive Bombay slums, guaranteeing Maya a life away from servitude. But in a cruel mirror of Sera's happiness-her only child Dinaz is expecting her first baby-Bhima finds that Maya is pregnant, has quit school and won't name the child's father. As the situation builds to a crisis point, both women reflect on the sorrows of their lives. While Bhima was born into a life of poverty and insurmountable obstacles, Sera's privileged upbringing didn't save her from a husband who beat her and a mother-in-law who tormented her. And while Bhima's marriage begins blissfully, an industrial accident leaves her husband maimed and an alcoholic. He finally deserts her, but not before he bankrupts the family and kidnapstheir son. Though Bhima and Sera believe they are mutually devoted, soon decades of confidences are thrown up against the far older rules of the class game. A subtle, elegant analysis of class and power. Umrigar transcends the specifics of two Bombay women and creates a novel that quietly roars against tyranny.
I did like this book....well written but there were spots that were a bit slow and agree with most reviewers that the ending left something to be desired.

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Unconvincing
what the dead know

thirty years ago, the Bethany girls, ages eleven and fifteen, disappeared from a Baltimore shopping mall. They never returned, their bodies were never recovered, and only painful questions remain. Now, in the aftermath of a rush-hour hit-and-run accident, a clearly disoriented woman is claiming to be Heather, the younger Bethany sister. Not a shred of evidence supports her story, and every lead she reluctantly offers takes the police to another dead end—a dying, incoherent man; a razed house; a missing grave. But she definitely knows something about that terrible day—and about the shocking fissures that the tragedy exposed in the foundation of a seemingly solid family.
this story was very good and a good mystery. However I did not like how the author kept going to different places in time to tell it. Made it hard to follow . But a good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
The Tumbling Turner Sisters

in 1919 the Turner sisters and their parents are barely scraping by. Their father ,a bookmaker, has an accident that crushes his hand and can no longer work. Their mother decides that the vaudeville stage is the families best chances to make the rent, and build a more exciting life for herself into the bargain. so the girls go on the road with an acrobatic act. It isn't long befure they discover a new type of freedom among the company of performers as diverse as their acts. The story is told in turn by Winnie and Gert , two of the sisters. It is a story of awakening to unexpected possibilities, during an interesting time in American history. the author states that one of the criteria she used for where the turner sisters performed was that the vaudeville houses had to remain in existence today. How fascinating! She wove real vaudeville acts into the story, including her great grandfather. The characters were interesting in this book and while i love this author, I enjoyed this book the best our of the ones I have read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dark
The Bright Forever

Few things cause as much distress as the abduction of a little girl; a multiple narrated story. Katie Mackey is nine and lives with older brother Gilley and her parents in the small town of Tower Hill, Ind. The Mackeys own a glassworks, the town's largest business, and Katie is a child of love and privilege, aglow with innocence. On the other side of the tracks is Henry Dees, a lonely bachelor and math teacher, who is Katie's private tutor this summer of 1972. His neighbor is the equally lonely widow, Clare Mains, who has taken up with the self-styled Raymond R., a new arrival and, like Dees, victim of a grim childhood. Ray is not well liked for his know-it-all ways and synthetic folksiness, but Clare, all heart and no brains, is charmed, and marries him. Then, on a perfect summer evening, Katie disappears. Earlier that day, Dees had kissed her and then felt ashamed. He has an out-of-control crush on Katie, having snuck into her bedroom and taken some of her hair. Ray knows all this and has blackmailed Dees, but it's Ray, Dees claims, who took Katie for a ride that evening. It will be days before Katie's body is discovered. While the killer's identity is fairly clear, the author keeps a nagging doubt, serving his theme of the shattering of small-town innocence, Katie's parents feel this guilt as they recall the abortion they agreed on when they were 18. Dees feels it as he acknowledges he had been "dumb to his own mysterious heart." The searchers for Katie feel burdened by "the weight of all their sins." Small wonder, then, that in time Katie's murder will leadto vigilante justice and another missing body. You do have to read this to the end for all the threads to come together. Pretty good book

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Insightful
before the fall

On a foggy summer night, eleven people--ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter--depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs--the painter--and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members--including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot--the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.
when you read other reviews, people either liked it or not. I think a good beach read and I did find it hard to put down. Kind of ended abruptly I thought. but still worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Adventurous, Addictive
the watchmakers daughter

India Steele is desperate. Her father is dead, her fiancé took her inheritance, and no one will employ her, despite years working for her watchmaker father. Indeed, the other London watchmakers seem frightened of her. Alone, poor, and at the end of her tether, India takes employment with the only person who'll accept her - an enigmatic and mysterious man from America. A man who possesses a strange watch that rejuvenates him when he's ill.

Matthew Glass must find a particular watchmaker, but he won't tell India why any old one won't do. Nor will he tell her what he does back home, and how he can afford to stay in a house in one of London's best streets. So when she reads about an American outlaw known as the Dark Rider arriving in England, she suspects Mr. Glass is the fugitive. When danger comes to their door, she's certain of it. But if she notifies the authorities, she'll find herself unemployed and homeless again - and she will have betrayed the man who saved her life.

classified as historical fantasy -- its a quirky book that held my interest throughout ! Great beach/summer read, not long. my only disappointment was getting to the abrupt end because i didn't realize it was a series. I definitely cannot wait for the next one!!! I need answers!! not sure i would recommend it for a book club....but definitely worth a read on your own

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
the girl who wrote in silk

Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt's island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.
Some of the critical reviews I read called the writing cliche, cheese, and felt it was trite and juvenile. Most reviewers liked it. Is it a "deep" book, no. But i did think it was entertaining and an easy read. It is a part of history you do not find in the history books and I find that disturbing, but not surprising. We were not a very "tolerant" country in those days. In fact, we still are not. Worth the read

The Next Best Thing: A Novel by Jennifer Weiner
 
Fun
the next best thing

at 23 Ruth Saunders headed west with her 70 year old grandmother,hoping to be hired as a television writer. Four years later, she hits the jackpot when she gets "the call". The sitcom she wrote has gotten the green light. But the dreams of Hollywood success is threaened by an avalanche of disasters: demanding actors, number crunching executives, and a crush on the boss. Add to that her grandmothers upcoming nuptials.
Basic beach read, not bad. there were numerous times towards the end that you would think it could end. SO ending a bit drawn out.

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Fun, Boring
Radio Girls

London, 1926. American-raised Maisie Musgrave is thrilled to land a job as a secretary at the upstart British Broadcasting Corporation, whose use of radio—still new, strange, and electrifying—is captivating the nation. But the hectic pace, smart young staff, and intimidating bosses only add to Maisie’s insecurity.

Soon, she is seduced by the work—gaining confidence as she arranges broadcasts by the most famous writers, scientists, and politicians in Britain. She is also caught up in a growing conflict between her two bosses, John Reith, the formidable Director-General of the BBC, and Hilda Matheson, the extraordinary director of the hugely popular Talks programming, who each have very different visions of what radio should be. Under Hilda’s tutelage, Maisie discovers her talent, passion, and ambition. But when she unearths a shocking conspiracy, she and Hilda join forces to make their voices heard both on and off the air…and then face the dangerous consequences of telling the truth for a living.

This was not a bad read although I felt the character of Maisie was a bit contrived and a bit hard to believe. However, it is historical fiction and based upon the real director of the BBC when it started - the fact that it was a woman and she was also involved in MI5 activities. The development of the BBC and how it was open in its hiring practices and pay, regardless of gender, makes for interesting reading.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Fun, Dramatic
the sparrow sisters

i would give this three and a half stars
Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

this is shades of practical magic
not a bad book.. a good beach read. most reviewers either love it or dislike it...i think its a good read. I would have liked to see more of the relationship between the sisters and how Patience came to be what she is. but it 's a good read.

Blueprints by Barbara Delinsky
 
Romantic
blueprints

Caroline and Jamie McAfee are close. Not only do they enjoy their relationship as mother and daughter, they're in business together as the team that fronts the popular home renovation show Gut It! All is well with these two strong women, but when the network tells Caroline that Jamie is to replace her as host, Caroline feels betrayed by her daughter and old in the eyes of the world.

Jamie is unsettled by the cast change and devastated by her mother's anger, but she has little time to brood when a tragic accident leaves her two-year-old half-brother in her care. Accustomed to a life of order and precision, Jamie suddenly finds herself out of her depth, grappling with a toddler who misses his parents and a fiancé who doesn't want the child.

Amid such devastation, Caroline and Jamie find themselves revising the blueprints they've built their lives around. With loyalties shifting and decisions looming, mother and daughter need each other; but the rift between them is proving difficult to mend. As the women try to remake themselves and rebuild their relationship with each other, they discover that strength and even passion can come from the unlikeliest places. For Caroline, it's an old friend, whose efforts to seduce her awaken desires that have been dormant for so long that she feels foreign to herself. For Jamie, it's a staggering new attraction that allows her to breathe again-and breathe deeply-for the first time in forever.

basic Barbara Delinsky book - decent beach read. not very deep but held my interest

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
the tin ticket

three to three and a half stars


The Tin Ticket takes readers to the dawn of the nineteenth century and into the lives of three women arrested and sent into suffering and slavery in Australia and Tasmania-where they overcame their fates unlike any women in the world. It also tells the tale of Elizabeth Gurney Fry, a Quaker reformer who touched all their lives. Ultimately, this is a story of women who, by sheer force of will, became the heart and soul of a new nation.

a bit slow in some parts since this is not a novel....but a part of history few of us probably are aware of. Much of the story is very sad and hard to believe. Worth the read

Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
 
Graphic, Unconvincing, Gloomy
frog music

Summer of 1876: San Francisco is in the fierce grip of a record-breaking heat wave and a smallpox epidemic. Through the window of a railroad saloon, a young woman named Jenny Bonnet is shot dead.

The survivor, her friend Blanche Beunon, is a French burlesque dancer. Over the next three days, she will risk everything to bring Jenny's murderer to justice—if he doesn't track her down first. The story Blanche struggles to piece together is one of free-love bohemians, desperate paupers, and arrogant millionaires; of jealous men, icy women, and damaged children. It's the secret life of Jenny herself, a notorious character who breaks the law every morning by getting dressed: a charmer as slippery as the frogs she hunts.
I did not care for this book and would agree with the rest of the critical reviewers: dark, tedious, characters totally unlikeable. I only finished it so I could find out who the murderer was.
It is historical fiction and the events in SF did indeed happen at that time. I know a lot of research when into it. But it didn't make me like it any better.
there were some reviewers that DID like it so maybe a good one for book clubs. Certainly a lot of historical issues to discuss

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Interesting
the boy at the top of the mountain

When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler.

Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.

interesting that the author would choose to write a second book in the time era and about the second World war. A good read

The Headmaster's Wife by Thomas Christopher Greene
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Pointless, Difficult
the headmasters wife

Like his father before him, Arthur Winthrop is the headmaster of Vermont's elite Lancaster School. It is the place he feels has given him his life, but is also the site of his undoing as events spiral out of his control. Found wandering naked in Central Park, he begins to tell his story to the police, but his memories collide into one another, and the true nature of things, a narrative of love, of marriage, of family, and of a tragedy Arthur does not know how to address emerges. Luminous and atmospheric, bringing to life the tight-knit enclave of a quintessential New England boarding school, the novel is part mystery, part love story, and an exploration of the ties of place and family.
I was excited to read this book due to the great reviews it got here and other places. I have to say it was not my cup of tea. It was an easy read and did totally throw me when i finally got the the middle and the second part of the story. But honestly I did not feel the depth of the story OR the characters. Ending was abrupt. I only finished it because it was an easy read and i had to find out what happened.
the only reason I recommended for book clubs is that there are many positive reviews vs mine

A Certain Age: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Addictive
a certain age

The bestselling author of A Hundred Summers brings the Roaring Twenties to life i.

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

I liked this authors first book and liked this one as well. I did find it a little confusing going back and forth between time periods although they were short spans. The story is told through different characters each chapter. there are surprising twists by the end . You do get a fair amount of historical information about the time period, and the twists and turns are excellent.

The Last One: A Novel by Alexandra Oliva
 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Dramatic, Adventurous
the last one

She wanted an adventure. She never imagined it would go this far.

It begins with a reality TV show. Twelve contestants are sent into the woods to face challenges that will test the limits of their endurance. While they are out there, something terrible happens—but how widespread is the destruction, and has it occurred naturally or is it man-made? Cut off from society, the contestants know nothing of it. When one of them—a young woman the show’s producers call Zoo—stumbles across the devastation, she can imagine only that it is part of the game.

Alone and disoriented, Zoo is heavy with doubt regarding the life—and husband—she left behind, but she refuses to quit. Staggering countless miles across unfamiliar territory, Zoo must summon all her survival skills—and learn new ones as she goes.

But as her emotional and physical reserves dwindle, she grasps that the real world might have been altered in terrifying ways—and her ability to parse the charade will be either her triumph or her undoing.
this was a hard book for me to get into....it got confusing going back and forth between the reality game and the current state of affairs. but I'm glad I stuck with it -- a good story.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Dramatic
Truly Madly Guilty

Six responsible adults. Three cute kids. One small dog. It’s just a normal weekend. What could possibly go wrong?

Sam and Clementine have a wonderful, albeit, busy life: they have two little girls, Sam has just started a new dream job, and Clementine, a cellist, is busy preparing for the audition of a lifetime. If there’s anything they can count on, it’s each other.

Clementine and Erika are each other’s oldest friends. A single look between them can convey an entire conversation. But theirs is a complicated relationship, so when Erika mentions a last minute invitation to a barbecue with her neighbors, Tiffany and Vid, Clementine and Sam don’t hesitate. Having Tiffany and Vid’s larger than life personalities there will be a welcome respite.

Two months later, it won’t stop raining, and Clementine and Sam can’t stop asking themselves the question: What if we hadn’t gone?

reading the reviews here, they seem to be mixed. it takes until the MIDDLE of th book for you to understand what the issue was that occurred at the BBQ. This seems to be what some reviewers did not like about the book. For me, yes it drove me crazy...but drove me crazy to keep reading so i could find out what it was! I really enjoyed this book - but I also like this author. I have enjoyed all her other books as well. There are some twists at the end and there is certainly a lot for a book club to talk about. The one character that I wish had been explored a bit more at the end was Pam. If you liked her other books, definitely give this a try!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Brilliant
the truth according to us

n the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.

At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten

in the beginning i thought i would be bored by this story. but the author is so good with descriptions and character development that you feel that you are right in this town in the middle of summer. there are no huge surprises..in fact what is great is that the ending is very realistic. Good book

 
Epic, Adventurous, Addictive
the city of mirrors

Cronin delivers a near-perfect finale for his award-winning, best-selling series. With eleven of the twelve Virals destroyed, it seems like humanity can finally breathe a sigh of relief and begin reclaiming the world—but Zero, the last Viral, remains in New York and has other plans. Cronin explores the world before the virus and the people directly responsible for the apocalypse, while also bringing together the characters we’ve come to love and pitting them into a satisfying, heartbreaking climax that will have readers white-knuckled as they read and completely satisfied when they’re done. The final book in the Passage trilogy rewards readers’ patience in a big way.
this is a great series if you like science fiction and apocalyptic kind of stories.
I was waiting for this to end in three different spots....and couldn't figure out why it didn't. but the authors ending was indeed perfect. Excellent book . Do not let the length of the book deter you. A good read but not so sure for book clubs.

The Japanese Lover: A Novel by Isabel Allende
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful, Romantic
the japanese lover

In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco’s parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family’s Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world.

Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco’s charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.

loved this book. Was hard in the beginning because I thought that I was missing something about Irinia. But as you get into the book you realize you haven't, So many stories are intertwined. Great read

The Status of All Things: A Novel by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
 
Fun, Optimistic, Romantic
the status of all things

Kate is a thirty-five-year-old woman who is obsessed with social media. So when her fiancé, Max, breaks things off at their rehearsal dinner—to be with Kate’s close friend and coworker, no less—she goes straight to Facebook to share it with the world. But something’s changed. Suddenly, Kate’s real life starts to mirror whatever she writes in her Facebook status. With all the power at her fingertips, and heartbroken and confused over why Max left her, Kate goes back in time to rewrite their history.

Kate's two best friends, Jules and Liam, are the only ones who know the truth. In order to convince them she’s really time traveled, Kate offers to use her Facebook status to help improve their lives. But her attempts to help them don’t go exactly as planned, and every effort to get Max back seems to only backfire, causing Kate to wonder if it’s really possible to change her fate.
this was a decent beach read and cute...just in no way probable so if you like whimsy, its ok
I would read it,just not choose it for a book club choice

The Lost Girls: A Novel by Heather Young
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Gloomy, Dark
the lost girls

In 1935, six-year-old Emily Evans vanishes from her family’s vacation home on a remote Minnesota lake. Her disappearance destroys the family—her father commits suicide, and her mother and two older sisters spend the rest of their lives at the lake house, keeping a decades-long vigil for the lost child.

Sixty years later, Lucy, the quiet and watchful middle sister, lives in the lake house alone. Before her death, she writes the story of that devastating summer in a notebook that she leaves, along with the house, to the only person who might care: her grandniece, Justine. For Justine, the lake house offers freedom and stability—a way to escape her manipulative boyfriend and give her daughters the home she never had. But the long Minnesota winter is just beginning. The house is cold and dilapidated. The dark, silent lake is isolated and eerie. Her only neighbor is a strange old man who seems to know more about the summer of 1935 than he’s telling.

Soon Justine’s troubled oldest daughter becomes obsessed with Emily’s disappearance, her mother arrives to steal her inheritance, and the man she left launches a dangerous plan to get her back. In a house haunted by the sorrows of the women who came before her, Justine must overcome their tragic legacy if she hopes to save herself and her children.

I do think this was a "dark, gloomy" story. But a good read....you want to find out what happens in both stories in the book.

 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Dark
remember me this way

Everyone keeps telling me I have to move on. And so here I am, walking down the road where he died, trying to remember him the right way.

A year after her husband Zach’s death, Lizzie goes to lay flowers where his fatal accident took place.

As she makes her way along the road, she thinks about their life together. She wonders whether she has changed since Zach died. She wonders if she will ever feel whole again.

At last she reaches the spot. And there, tied to a tree, is a bunch of lilies. The flowers are addressed to her husband. Someone has been there before her.

Lizzie loved Zach. She really did. But she’s starting to realize she didn’t really know him. Or what he was capable of…

i would give this a 3.5 Its dark, gloomy, spooky, but a good mild thriller. Sometimes I dislike Lizzie, sometimes I don't. The author brings it to good closure. might be good for some book clubs.

 
Fun, Adventurous
last ride to graceland

Blues musician Cory Ainsworth is barely scraping by after her mother’s death when she discovers a priceless piece of rock ‘n’ roll memorabilia hidden away in a shed out back of the family’s coastal South Carolina home: Elvis Presley’s Stutz Blackhawk, its interior a time capsule of the singer’s last day on earth.

A backup singer for the King, Cory’s mother Honey was at Graceland the day Elvis died. She quickly returned home to Beaufort and married her high school sweetheart. Yearning to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past—and possibly her own identity—Cory decides to drive the car back to Memphis and turn it over to Elvis’s estate, retracing the exact route her mother took thirty-seven years earlier. As she winds her way through the sprawling deep south with its quaint towns and long stretches of open road, the burning question in Cory’s mind—who is my father?—takes a backseat to the truth she learns about her complicated mother, the minister's daughter who spent a lifetime struggling to conceal the consequences of a single year of rebellion.

could be a 3.5 starts. Fun read and an interesting premise. I found the main character, Cory, difficult to like. For a 37 year old she was not the brightest lightbulb in the chandelier and was quite annoying. but the major story line was fun and made for a decent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Optimistic, Fun
nine women one dress

Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…

there are some negative reviews on this and I respect them..if you are looking for a deep book this is not it. If you are looking for something lighthearted, charming, witty, and fun then this is the book for your. I loved reading about how this dress affected the lives of the pattern maker thru the women who wore it. Easy, beach kind of read. but also the kind of fun book to read on a nice dreary day. Definitely recommend.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
once we were brothers

Elliot Rosenzweig, a respected civic leader and wealthy philanthropist, is attending a fundraiser when he is suddenly accosted and accused of being a former Nazi SS officer named Otto Piatek, the Butcher of Zamosc. Although the charges are denounced as preposterous, his accuser is convinced he is right and engages attorney Catherine Lockhart to bring Rosenzweig to justice. Solomon persuades attorney Catherine Lockhart to take his case, revealing that the true Piatek was abandoned as a child and raised by Solomon's own family only to betray them during the Nazi occupation. But has Solomon accused the right man?

it is interesting to read reviews after reading the book. Seems most loved this or disliked it. One reviewer questions that someone in modern times could be so ignorant about the Holocost. to that I would say yes The longer time goes by the more people forget and wonder if that "history" is true. Another felt it was unrealistic to expect that Ctherine , the lawyer , would sit with Ben for so many unbillable hours . Probably so, but its a story!! Some people are tired of reading stories about WWII - i get that...there seem to be a lot lately. But if you are willing to take another on, this is a good one.

Miller's Valley: A Novel by Anna Quindlen
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Optimistic
Millers Valley

For generations the Millers have lived in Miller’s Valley. Mimi Miller tells about her life with intimacy and honesty. As Mimi eavesdrops on her parents and quietly observes the people around her, she discovers more and more about the toxicity of family secrets, the dangers of gossip, the flaws of marriage, the inequalities of friendship and the risks of passion, loyalty, and love. Home, as Mimi begins to realize, can be “a place where it’s just as easy to feel lost as it is to feel content.”

I love all of Anna's book and this was no exception. Most of the reviews were excellent and it is hard for me to expand on their comments. Is this an exciting, suspenseful book? No. but as one reviewer stated, it is a "quiet novel, but meaningful". "a subtle read". It didn't start out that way, but the further you go, the less you want to put it down. I wanted a little more at the end on a few characters, but that is life anyway...not everything is wrapped up and finished. the epilogue was beautiful and well written...close to the perfect ending. Definitely a good read

After You: A Novel by Jojo Moyes
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Insightful, Inspiring
After You

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future...

seems like reviewers either like it or truly did not. Not a bad read, but I don't necessarily agree that a book needs a sequel to wrap up the loose ends of someone's life. I did like Me Before You....this one was fair, I did not like the character of Lily...I know, i know...troubled teen, be sympathetic, etc but I wanted to shake Louisa because she put up with so much from her. Not totally realistic in my opinion. The ending was good and some good lines on how people grieve and move on.

worth for a book club to read and discuss if they read the first one

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Informative, Fun
First WOmen

The first lady is one of the most underestimated and challenging positions in the world. The author discusses the first ladies rivalries and friendships and explores their political causes and their public/private relationships with their husbands. Covers Jackie Kennedy through Michelle Obama.
It does do a lot of bouncing back in forth in time...she tells their stories by "topic" vs time line which does compare all of them in similar situations. Interesting insight in how they support each other regardless of political affiliation and how some get along better than others.
Interesting read.

 
Graphic, Dramatic, Addictive
End of Watch

Brady Hartsfield, perpetrator of the Mercedes Massacre, where eight people were killed and many more were badly injured, has been in the Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic for five years, in a vegetative state. According to his doctors, anything approaching a complete recovery is unlikely. But behind the drool and stare, Brady is awake, and in possession of deadly new powers that allow him to wreak unimaginable havoc without ever leaving his hospital room.

Retired police detective Bill Hodges, the unlikely hero of Mr. Mercedes and Finders Keepers, now runs an investigation agency with his partner, Holly Gibney, who delivered the blow to Hartsfield's head that put him on the brain injury ward. Brady also remembers that. When Bill and Holly are called to a murder-suicide with ties to the Mercedes Massacre, they find themselves pulled into their most dangerous case yet, one that will put not only their lives at risk, but those of Hodges’s friend Jerome Robinson and his teenage sister, Barbara. Because Brady Hartsfield is back, and planning revenge not just on Bill Hodges and his friends, but on an entire city.

I had gotten a little tired of stephen kings books and had not read any in awhile. But this trilogy is good. Its a good murder mystery with a little bit of King's "weirdness" in it as well. Good reads!

Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Dark, Addictive
dark matter

“Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable--something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

this is a bit of a weird book...improbable but it does make you wonder if it could be true scientifically. Worth the read
might be a bit hard for a book club discussion

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
the life we bury

College student Joe Talbert has the modest goal of completing a writing assignment for an English class. His task is to interview a stranger and write a brief biography of the person. With deadlines looming, Joe heads to a nearby nursing home to find a willing subject. There he meets Carl Iverson, and soon nothing in Joe's life is ever the same.

Carl is a dying Vietnam veteran--and a convicted murderer. With only a few months to live, he has been medically paroled to a nursing home, after spending thirty years in prison for the crimes of rape and murder.

As Joe writes about Carl's life, especially Carl's valor in Vietnam, he cannot reconcile the heroism of the soldier with the despicable acts of the convict. Joe, along with his skeptical female neighbor, throws himself into uncovering the truth, but he is hamstrung in his efforts by having to deal with his dangerously dysfunctional mother, the guilt of leaving his autistic brother vulnerable, and a haunting childhood memory.

joe unravels the truth slowly but may not be in time
this was an easy ready and a very good story!!

The Girl in the Garden by Kamala Nair
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Informative
girl in the garden

The redemptive journey of a young woman unsure of her engagement, who revisits in memory the events of one scorching childhood summer when her beautiful yet troubled mother spirits her away from her home to an Indian village untouched by time, where she discovers in the jungle behind her ancestral house a spellbinding garden that harbors a terrifying secret.
I really liked this book..loved the story and the intricacies of family and secrets. Easy read and hard to put down!

Lottery by Patricia Wood
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Insightful, Addictive
Lottery

Perry L. crandall knows what its like to be an outsider. With an IQ of 76, he's an easy mark. Before his grandmother died, she armed Perry well with what he'd need to know, the importance of words and writing things down, and how to play the lottery. Most important, she taught him who to trust - a crucial lesson for Perry after he wins the lottery. As his family descends, moving in on his fortune, his fate, and his few true friends, he has a lesson for them: Never ever underestimate Perry L Crandall
this was a great book. You hate Perry's family from the very beginning - lots of strong characters in this book. Not the deepest, but you will be cheering for Perry in the end.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Insightful
the pearl that broke its shell

In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-aunt, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

this is an excellent story. It highlights the current culture regarding women in afghnistan and how it ws years ago...not that different. Good read.

Termination Orders (A Dan Morgan Thriller) by Leo J. Maloney, Caio Camargo
 
Dramatic, Adventurous
termination orders

Once a trained killer for the CIA, Dan Morgan has built a new life for himself. But when he receives a desperate plea from his former Black Ops partner - reportedly killed in a foreign battle zone - he flies to help. It should be a routine mission, extracting a human asset from the region. But it's not routine; it's an ambush. Now Morgan is running for his life, holding crucial evidence. With his contacts dead and family in danger, Morgan must take on a full-scale conspiracy in the highest echelons of a vast global network that plays by its rules - when it suits them.

not necessarily great for a book club but was a good murder/spy mystery. It is the first in a series and will be interesting to read the others.

 
Boring
Big Magic

author digs deep into her own generative process to share her wisdom and unique perspective about creativity. she offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness
i have always liked this author but sadly this book did nothing for me. It did not resonant to me, but maybe it will for someone else.

The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston
 
the midnight witch

When her father dies, her hapless brother Freddie takes the title. But it is Lilith, instructed in the art of necromancy, who inherits their father’s role as Head Witch of the Lazarus Coven. And it is Lilith who must face the threat of the Sentinels, a powerful group of sorcerers intent on reclaiming the Elixir from the coven’s guardianship for their own dark purposes. Lilith knows the Lazarus creed: secrecy and silence. To abandon either would put both the coven and all she holds dear in grave danger. She has spent her life honoring it, right down to her charming fiancé and fellow witch, Viscount Louis Harcourt.

Until the day she meets Bram, a talented artist who is neither a witch nor a member of her class. With him, she must not be secret and silent. Despite her loyalty to the coven and duty to her family, Lilith cannot keep her life as a witch hidden from the man she loves.

To tell him will risk everything.

pretty basic witch book...nothing outstanding but a decent read

House of Thieves: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
the house of thieves

probably 3.5 stars
In 1886 New York, a respectable architect shouldn’t have any connection to the notorious gang of thieves and killers that rules the underbelly of the city. But when John Cross’s son racks up an unfathomable gambling debt to Kent’s Gents, Cross must pay it back himself. All he has to do is use his inside knowledge of high society mansions and museums to craft a robbery even the smartest detectives won’t solve. The take better include some cash too —the bigger the payout, the faster this will be over.
With a newfound talent for sniffing out vulnerable and lucrative targets, Cross becomes invaluable to the gang. But Cross’s entire life has become a balancing act, and it will only take one mistake for it all to come crashing down —and for his family to go down too.

i thought this was a good book but to the nail biter, can't put it down some reviewers called it.
I did find it hard to believe some of the premises. Not sure in that day and age the 10 year old son would have had the freedom of movement that Charlie had.
But still a good read

The Race for Paris: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Boring, Slow
the race for Paris

Normandy, 1944. To cover the fighting in France, Jane, a reporter for the Nashville Banner, and Liv, an Associated Press photographer, have already had to endure enormous danger and frustrating obstacles—including strict military regulations limiting what women correspondents can do. Even so, Liv wants more.

Encouraged by her husband, the editor of a New York newspaper, she’s determined to be the first photographer to reach Paris with the Allies, and capture its freedom from the Nazis.

However, her Commanding Officer has other ideas about the role of women in the press corps. To fulfill her ambitions, Liv must go AWOL. She persuades Jane to join her, and the two women find a guardian angel in Fletcher, a British military photographer who reluctantly agrees to escort them. As they race for Paris across the perilous French countryside, Liv, Jane, and Fletcher forge an indelible emotional bond that will transform them and reverberate long after the war is over.

based on the stories of the female journalists in WWII.
I have read this author before and liked her works. Ilove historical fiction and the premise of this book drew me in. The first chapter hooked me and I loved the last chapter where thing were tied together. But was a bit disappointed in everything in the middle. I felt it was dry reading , didn't hold my interest (altho the thread of the the story SHOULD have). I am glad i finished it to read how the author wrapped it all up , but have to admit I was tempted many times to stop.

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Interesting, Addictive
in the light of what we see

Brighton, 1938: Grace Kemp is pushed away by the family she has shamed. Rejected and afraid, she begins a new life as a nurse. But danger stalks the hospital too, and she’ll need to be on her guard to avoid falling into familiar traps. And then there are the things she sees…Strange portents that have a way of becoming real.

Eighty years later, Mina Morgan is brought to the same hospital after a near-fatal car crash. She is in terrible pain but recalls nothing. She’s not even sure whom to trust. Mina too sees things that others cannot, but now, in hospital, her visions are clearer than ever…

Two women, separated by decades, are drawn together by a shared space and a common need to salvage their lives.

interesting intertwining stories. somewhat predictable , yet an interesting read. Little bit psychological thriller, little bit supernatural Good read

Leave Me: A Novel by Gayle Forman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
leave me

Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who's so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn't even realize she's had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we're going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

this not an earth shattering book; its predictable, yet a good basic read

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Difficult, Confusing
THe Children

Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace—and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.
most reviews loved this book Not my favorite, I felt it took a long time to get to the real story..the last 1/3 of the book. And then it went fast. You really don't get a sense of why Laurel does what she does and how she chooses Spin Many reviews compared this to THE NEST and liked this better...I liked THE NEST better. still worth the read to see if you like it.

Mischling by Affinity Konar
 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dark, Confusing
Mischling

Stasha must care for: the funny, the future, the bad.

It's 1944 when the twin sisters arrive at Auschwitz with their mother and grandfather. In their benighted new world, Pearl and Stasha Zagorski take refuge in their identical natures, comforting themselves with the private language and shared games of their childhood.

As part of the experimental population of twins known as Mengele's Zoo, the girls experience privileges and horrors unknown to others, and they find themselves changed, stripped of the personalities they once shared, their identities altered by the burdens of guilt and pain.

That winter, at a concert orchestrated by Mengele, Pearl disappears. Stasha grieves for her twin, but clings to the possibility that Pearl remains alive. When the camp is liberated by the Red Army, she and her companion Feliks--a boy bent on vengeance for his own lost twin--travel through Poland's devastation. Undeterred by injury, starvation, or the chaos around them, motivated by equal parts danger and hope, they encounter hostile villagers, Jewish resistance fighters, and fellow refugees, their quest enabled by the notion that Mengele may be captured and brought to justice within the ruins of the Warsaw Zoo. As the young survivors discover what has become of the world, they must try to imagine a future within it.

seems like most reviews either loved it or didn't like it. I agree with the good reviews that its a dark book, a sad story, etc. But also agree with the others that although I wanted to like it, i did not. I didn't like the way the author wrote, felt it was hard to follow the story and decide between what wa real or not, especially the ending seemed rush when they all come together and not clear how they reacted together after the war, This was not an engaging book for me.

and while I did not like it, I think it would be interesting for a book club to read to get different perspectives on it

Here I Am: A Novel by Jonathan Safran Foer
 
Interesting, Poorly Written, Pointless

Dancing in the Dark by Mary Jane Clark
 
Dramatic, Addictive
dancing in the dark

Trying to mix business with pleasure, KEY News correspondent Diane Mayfield has brought her children and her sister to the New Jersey shore town of Ocean Grove to investigate a story on "girls who cry wolf" for the season premiere of Hourglass, television's highly rated news magazine. Diane lands an exclusive interview with a troubled young woman whose tale of being abducted and held against her will for three terrifying days had been disbelieved by the authorities. No sooner does Diane finish taping the interview, though, than a second victim disappears. The small community, already in the grip of a record heat wave, is now wracked by fear and terror—no one knows who could be next. With only the first victim as eyewitness, Diane and the police turn to her for clues. But it may be too late to save Diane and her loved ones from the mortal danger that lurks in Ocean Grove.
basic beach kind of read...easy fast, not bad

Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Informative, Inspiring
Lilac girls

New York socialite Caroline Ferriday has her hands full with her post at the French consulate and a new love on the horizon. But Caroline’s world is forever changed when Hitler’s army invades Poland in September 1939—and then sets its sights on France.

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

For the ambitious young German doctor, Herta Oberheuser, an ad for a government medical position seems her ticket out of a desolate life. Once hired, though, she finds herself trapped in a male-dominated realm of Nazi secrets and power.

The lives of these three women are set on a collision course when the unthinkable happens and Kasia is sent to Ravensbrück, the notorious Nazi concentration camp for women. Their stories cross continents—from New York to Paris, Germany, and Poland—as Caroline and Kasia strive to bring justice to those whom history has forgotten.

historical fiction and based on a true story about caroline ferriday, a debutante and broadway actress who dedicated her life to helping women others had forgotten. The German doctor in the novel was also a real person. IT is definitely hard reading about the terrible thing done to these Polish women during WWII. the characters are interesting. I found myself disliking Kasia, especially post war...but not sure I wouldn't be the same after all she had gone through. Interesting Read.

Glad Farm: A Memoir by Catherine Marenghi
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Life Changing, Insightful
Glad Farm

Raised in a primitive one-room farmhouse with no indoor plumbing, the fourth of five children, Catherine Marenghi begins her life in poverty and isolation. She leaves home at the age of seventeen. A decade later, she is a successful journalist with the means to buy her family their first decent house. But the past will not be put to rest so easily. Catherine unravels a web of long-buried family secrets, and a terrible betrayal that robbed her family of the home that was rightfully theirs. And she finally uncovers the story her parents never shared: the gladiolus farm that was once their dream.
I enjoy reading memoirs but they can also be a bit dry. I could not put this one down. I am about the same age as the author and cannot imagine growing up in the environment she did. And how the family remained positive and loving through all of that is amazing. Jimmy Carter's comment on the back rings true - "reminds us of the role our habitats play in shaping our lives".
somewhat sad that all she found out about her family in the end was after her mom passes, and unable to answer all the questions I' m sure she had. But we are all like that I think - - we don't ask the questions of our elders while they are around and able to share family history.
definitely a book to read!

The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe
 
Book Club Recommended
The girl with no name

Thirteen-year-old Lisa escapes from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport and arrives in England in August 1939. She can't speak a word of English and her only belongings are crammed into a small suitcase. Among them is one precious photograph of the family she has left behind in Germany.

Lonely and homesick, not knowing if she will ever see her family again, Lisa is adopted by a childless couple and then bullied at school for being German. But worse is to come when the Blitz blows her new home apart and she wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is, or where she came from. The authorities give her a new name and despatch her to a children's home. With the war in full swing, what will become of Lisa now?

There were mixed reviews on this book and have to say all had valid points. Many grammatical and typo errors. The story was good and the Kindertransport is not an issue you hear a lot about from that era. Just when it seems things settle down for Lisa something else happens. Just as in real life. So all in all a good story although I did feel the ending was a bit rushed. IN two chapters the author winds up what happens with Harry, Lisas mother and where she goes from there. could have been a little more involved.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Informative
the daring ladies of lowell

Determined to forge her own destiny, Alice Barrow joins the legions of spirited young women better known as the Mill Girls. From dawn until dusk, these ladies work the looms, but the thrill of independence, change in their pockets, and friendships formed along the way mostly make the backbreaking labor worthwhile. In fact, Hiram Fiske, the steely-eyed titan of industry, has banked on that. But the working conditions are becoming increasingly dangerous and after one too many accidents, Alice finds herself unexpectedly acting as an emissary to address the factory workers' mounting list of grievances.

After traveling to the Fiske family's Beacon Hill mansion, Alice enters a world she's never even dared to dream about: exquisite silk gowns, sumptuous dinners, grand sitting parlors, and uniformed maids operating with an invisible efficiency. Of course, there's also a chilliness in the air as Alice presents her case. But with her wide, intelligent eyes and rosy-hued cheeks, Alice manages to capture the attention of Hiram's eldest son, the handsome and reserved Samuel Fiske.

Their chemistry is undeniable, soon progressing from mutual respect and shy flirtation into an unforgettable romance. But when Alice's best friend, Lovey, is found strangled in a field, Alice and Samuel are torn between loyalty to "their kind" and a chance for true love.
technically historical fiction - there was indeed a young mill girl murdered in 1832 which caused an uproar during a time when mill workers were becoming restless and angry about low wages and dangerous working conditions.
it is an easy ready, decent story and what i call a good "beach read".

A Touch of Stardust by Kate Alcott
 
Slow, Boring, Romantic
a touch of stardust

maybe 3.5 Not a deep book but interesting. Julie Crawford leaves Indiana and goes to Hollywood to be a screenwriter. Amazingly enough she becomes friends with Carole Lombard who is also from her home town. She find herself on the set of GONE WITH THE WIND as Carole hires her to be her assistant. Which draws her into the world Carole shares with Clark Gable. Its an interesting story as Julie becomes involved with one of the production assistants on GWTW who is also Jewish -- which brings in the the world history going on at that time as well. Not very deep but not a bad read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Slow, Interesting
the summer before the war

not my favorite book While it was very interesting to get the perspective of women and their rights (or lack of) in this time period, it was too long, boring for most of it, too much time spent on the "little town" type of things, not great writing. I was committed to finishing it and must say the ending was better - basically because it moved along. wouldn't recommend it. However there are excellent reviews on this , and does leave a lot for discussion for book groups


East Sussex, 1914. It is the end of England’s brief Edwardian summer, and everyone agrees that the weather has never been so beautiful. Hugh Grange, down from his medical studies, is visiting his Aunt Agatha, who lives with her husband in the small, idyllic coastal town of Rye. Agatha's husband works in the Foreign Office, and she is certain he will ensure that the recent sabre rattling over the Balkans won't come to anything. And Agatha has more immediate concerns; she has just risked her carefully built reputation by pushing for the appointment of a woman to replace the Latin master.

When Beatrice Nash arrives with one trunk and several large crates of books, it is clear she is significantly more freethinking — and attractive — than anyone believes a Latin teacher should be. For her part, mourning the death of her beloved father, who has left her penniless, Beatrice simply wants to be left alone to pursue her teaching and writing.

But just as Beatrice comes alive to the beauty of the Sussex landscape and the colorful characters who populate Rye, the perfect summer is about to end. For despite Agatha's reassurances, the unimaginable is coming. Soon the limits of progress, and the old ways, will be tested as this small Sussex town and its inhabitants go to war.

 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Dark
my grandfather would have shot me

“I am the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, who shot hundreds of people—and for being black, he would have shot me, too.” In an instant, Jennifer Teege’s life turns upside down; the shock of discovering her ancestry shatters her sense of self.

Teege is 38—married, with two small children—when by chance she finds a library book about her grandfather, Amon Goeth. Millions of people worldwide know of him through Ralph Fiennes’ chilling portrayal in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. Goeth was the brutal commandant of the Plaszów concentration camp—Oskar Schindler’s drinking buddy, and yet his adversary. Responsible for the deaths of thousands, Amon Goeth was hanged in 1946.

Goeth’s partner Ruth, Teege’s much-loved grandmother, committed suicide in 1983. Teege is their daughter’s daughter; her father is Nigerian. Raised by foster parents, she grew up with no knowledge of the family secret. Now, it unsettles her profoundly. What can she say to her Jewish friends, or to her own children? Who is she—truly?

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me is Teege’s searing chronicle of grappling with her haunted past. Her research into her family takes her to Poland and to Israel. Award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair supplies historical context in a separate, interwoven narrative. Step by step, horrified by her family’s dark history, Teege builds the story of her own liberation

this was a fair book...pretty short, a bit of a boring read, yet amazing that she would find out her history at the age she does.

The Dollhouse: A Novel by Fiona Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Informative, Interesting
the Dollhouse

not an overly deep book for a book club but a decent read.
When she arrives at the famed Barbizon Hotel in 1952, secretarial school enrollment in hand, Darby McLaughlin is everything her modeling agency hall mates aren't: plain, self-conscious, homesick, and utterly convinced she doesn't belong—a notion the models do nothing to disabuse. Yet when Darby befriends Esme, a Barbizon maid, she's introduced to an entirely new side of New York City: seedy downtown jazz clubs where the music is as addictive as the heroin that's used there, the startling sounds of bebop, and even the possibility of romance.

Over half a century later, the Barbizon's gone condo and most of its long-ago guests are forgotten. But rumors of Darby's involvement in a deadly skirmish with a hotel maid back in 1952 haunt the halls of the building as surely as the melancholy music that floats from the elderly woman's rent-controlled apartment. It's a combination too intoxicating for journalist Rose Lewin, Darby's upstairs neighbor, to resist—not to mention the perfect distraction from her own imploding personal life. Yet as Rose's obsession deepens, the ethics of her investigation become increasingly murky, and neither woman will remain unchanged when the shocking truth is finally revealed.

called the Dollhouse by the boys -- this was the authors first novel and a decent read. Its a fast read, and not overly deep . but an interesting story , especially the insight inot what the Barbizon must have been like in the 50/s. entertaining and worth the read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Adventurous
the snow child

laska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm, she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
I did like this book - just not as enthralled with it as many of the other reviewers are. You have to know its basically a fairy tale type of story therefore do not be surprised if the ending doesn't make sense. But basically a good read.

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Dramatic, Addictive
hello from the gillespies

For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth....

The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.

Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when a bump on the head leaves Angela with temporary amnesia, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways....

good read, good story...although a bit long. I did find the daughters annoying. they are all adults yet act like teenagers and very stupid. Especially Lindy. get a grip girl and stop your whining. but in the end...a good story

The Royal Nanny: A Novel by Karen Harper
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
the royal nanny

Not the best written book but if you like to read about Britain's royal family , this is for you. Based on true characters and history, it is fiction and very fascinating to see how royal children in that era were raised.
Based on a seldom-told true story, this novel is perfect for everyone who is fascinated by Britain’s royal family—a behind the scenes look into the nurseries of little princes and the foibles of big princes.

April, 1897: A young nanny arrives at Sandringham, ancestral estate of the Duke and Duchess of York. She is excited, exhausted—and about to meet royalty. . . .

So begins the unforgettable story of Charlotte Bill, who would care for a generation of royals as their parents never could. Neither Charlotte—LaLa, as her charges dub her—nor anyone else can predict that eldest sons David and Bertie will each one day be king. LaLa knows only that these children, and the four who swiftly follow, need her steadfast loyalty and unconditional affection.

But the greatest impact on Charlotte’s life is made by a mere bud on the family tree: a misunderstood soul who will one day be known as the Lost Prince. Young Prince John needs all of Lala’s love—the kind of love his parents won’t…or can’t…show him.

What Was Mine: A Novel by Helen Klein Ross
 
Interesting, Dramatic, Insightful
what was mine

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

the premise is a good one but the story reads a bit flat. it is told through various characters -- each chapter a different one. Not all of them are so believable and the ending was not very good.

 
Informative, Interesting, Difficult
Empty Mansions

When Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bill Dedman noticed in 2009 a grand home for sale, unoccupied for nearly sixty years, he stumbled through a surprising portal into American history. Empty Mansions is a rich mystery of wealth and loss, connecting the Gilded Age opulence of the nineteenth century with a twenty-first-century battle over a $300 million inheritance. At its heart is a reclusive heiress named Huguette Clark, a woman so secretive that, at the time of her death at age 104, no new photograph of her had been seen in decades. Though she owned palatial homes in California, New York, and Connecticut, why had she lived for twenty years in a simple hospital room, despite being in excellent health? Why were her valuables being sold off? Was she in control of her fortune, or controlled by those managing her money?

very interesting book about the super rich. who has three homes and hasn't lived in them for decades. stories like this are sometime boring to read but the author makes it very interesting, keeps chapters short and doesn't go into a lot of unnecessary detail . Unbelievable to think that this is a true story. Good read.
not necessarily a great book for book clubs

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Informative
small great things

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

so most of the reviews of this book are very good And I will say i enjoyed the read. having said that I do agree with many of the criticisms...typical Jodi Picoult book in that its a story with a message and a current 'social" cause of the day; pretty predictable;
But if you don't mind those critiques, it is a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
under the influence

this could be a 3.5 -4
Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.
I did enjoy this book. Most have rated it highly.....a few criticisms i could agree with ..a tlittle unbelievable, but still an interesting book

 
Adventurous, Dark, Dramatic
I am Pilgrim

A breakneck race against time...and an implacable enemy.
An anonymous young woman murdered in a run-down hotel, all identifying characteristics dissolved by acid.
A father publicly beheaded in the blistering heat of a Saudi Arabian public square.
A notorious Syrian biotech expert found eyeless in a Damascus junkyard.
Smoldering human remains on a remote mountainside in Afghanistan.
A flawless plot to commit an appalling crime against humanity.
One path links them all, and only one man can make the journey.

seems people either loved or hated this book. while i can understand the criticisms and agree with some, I still found that I liked this book. Thought it was a good mystery, spy novel. It is NOT an easy read -- you have to pay attention. The story of the main character unfolds in bits and pieces. I enjoyed it.

 
Confusing, Poorly Written, Boring
boys in the trees

Simon's memoir reveals her remarkable life, beginning with her storied childhood as the third daughter of Richard L. Simon, the co-founder of publishing giant Simon & Schuster, her musical debut as half of The Simon Sisters performing folk songs with her sister Lucy in Greenwich Village, to a meteoric solo career that would result in 13 top 40 hits, including the #1 song "You're So Vain." She was the first artist in history to win a Grammy Award, an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award, for her song "Let the River Run" from the movie Working Girl.

The memoir recalls a childhood enriched by music and culture, but also one shrouded in secrets that would eventually tear her family apart. Simon brilliantly captures moments of creative inspiration, the sparks of songs, and the stories behind writing "Anticipation" and "We Have No Secrets" among many others. Romantic entanglements with some of the most famous men of the day fueled her confessional lyrics, as well as the unraveling of her storybook marriage to James Taylor.

I am a big fan of memoirs but this was very disappointing. I am sorry that she seemed to have a difficult life but geez...every guy she met she either had fantasies about, had sex with, or wanted to. A little too much for me. did not enjoy this book AT ALL!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun, Interesting
the book that matters most

Ava’s twenty-five-year marriage has fallen apart, and her two grown children are pursuing their own lives outside of the country. Ava joins a book group, not only for her love of reading but also out of sheer desperation for companionship. The group’s goal throughout the year is for each member to present the book that matters most to them. Ava rediscovers a mysterious book from her childhood—one that helped her through the traumas of the untimely deaths of her sister and mother. Alternating with Ava’s story is that of her troubled daughter Maggie, who, living in Paris, descends into a destructive relationship with an older man. Ava’s mission to find that book and its enigmatic author takes her on a quest that unravels the secrets of her past and offers her and Maggie the chance to remake their lives.
was slow for me in the beginning but better the second half. the concept of picking a book that matters most to you is interesting, although a point made int he book was that it could be different books depending on where you are in your life.
is it predictable in the end? maybe so. but still a good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Insightful, Beautiful
the magic strings of Frankie Pesto

Is this book a little unrealistic? yes.
Is it a little sappy? yes
is it a little preachy ? yes
is it a bit too long? yes?
Yet I loved this book and loved Frankie. Read th official summary below. It is like a Forrest Gump type of story. If you like that , you will like this book . Frankies life is told by Music , the narrator. And he weaves in various musicians that tell his story as well. I found it fascinating that the ones the author uses - Tony bennet, Darlene Love, Burt Bacharach, Lyle Lovett, Wynton Marsalis, among others - he asked permission to use them in the book. Totally made it real and interesting. There is also some historical issues in here since it takes you from the 1930's through current day - music history. Loved this book
This is the epic story of Frankie Presto—the greatest guitar player who ever lived—and the six lives he changed with his six magical blue strings

Frankie, born in a burning church, abandoned as an infant, and raised by a music teacher in a small Spanish town, until war rips his life apart. At nine years old, he is sent to America in the bottom of a boat. His only possession is an old guitar and six precious strings. His amazing journey weaves him through the musical landscape of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, with his stunning playing and singing talent affecting numerous stars (Duke Ellington, Hank Williams, Elvis Presley) until, as if predestined, he becomes a pop star himself.

He makes records. He is adored. But Frankie Presto’s gift is also his burden, as he realizes the power of the strings his teacher gave him, and how, through his music, he can actually affect people’s lives. At the height of his popularity, tortured by his biggest mistake, he vanishes. His legend grows. Only decades later, having finally healed his heart, does Frankie reappearjust before his spectacular death—to change one last life. With the Spirit of Music as our guide, we glimpse into the lives that were changed by one man whose strings could touch the music—and the magic—in each of us.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful
Baklava, Biscotti, and an Irishman

I must make a disclaimer - the author is a friend of mine, so I was a little nervous to read this book. What if I didn't like it? How would I write a review. So I decided that if I didn't like it , no review. Obviously that didn't happen. I thoroughly enjoyed this book! There were times that some of the characters annoyed me and times that I loved them The sign of a good story I think. The book does jump back and forth between four time periods - so you have to pay attention. I did not mind this although I know some people do. But it is well worth it in the end when all the threads come together and it all makes sense. Definitely a good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Optimistic
the curious charms of Arthur Pepper

Harold Frye (altho better -- I wasn't thrilled with that one) and a bit of Ove. A good book for a first time author. An easy read, yet you are drawn in to the characters. A bit predictable, not a deep story, but a very pleasant read. Definitely recommend it.
ixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam's death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam's possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he's never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife's secret life before they met--a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon
 
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive
the dark sister

3.5 stars
It is a bit of a page turner; horror story, mystery combined, with a bit of the supernatural. Not a deep read but entertaining.
Once the thriving attraction of rural Vermont, the Tower Motel now stands in disrepair, alive only in the memories of Amy, Piper, and Piper's kid sister, Margot. The three played there as girls until the day that their games uncovered something dark and twisted in the motel's past, something that ruined their friendship forever.

Now adult, Piper and Margot have tried to forget what they found that fateful summer, but their lives are upended when Piper receives a panicked midnight call from Margot, with news of a horrific crime for which Amy stands accused. Suddenly, Margot and Piper are forced to relive the time that they found the suitcase that once belonged to Silvie Slater, the aunt that Amy claimed had run away to Hollywood to live out her dream of becoming Hitchcock's next blonde bombshell leading lady. As Margot and Piper investigate, a cleverly woven plot unfolds—revealing the story of Sylvie and Rose, two other sisters who lived at the motel during its 1950s heyday. Each believed the other to be something truly monstrous, but only one carries the secret that would haunt the generations to come. (less)

The Other Einstein: A Novel by Marie Benedict
 
Interesting, Beautiful, Informative
the other einstein

Interesting story...reviewers are all over the place with this one...loved it or hated it. The major criticism seems to be there is no real basis for believing Einstein treated his first wife this way. I still think its an interesting story considering there is speculation on what, if any, collaboration his wife had on his theory of relativity. a good biography of Albert is EINSTEIN, which also questions some of her involvement and their relationship. Still a decent read.

Don't You Cry by Mary Kubica
 
Addictive, Scary, Dark
don't you cry

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she's the person Quinn thought she knew.

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.

I had a hard time fora about 1/3 of third of the book...trying to go between the two stories and not getting a connection at all. Yet you finally are drawn into both stories and really start wanting to know where they are going. A good read. Just not sure I would want to discuss this at a book group...but many might

 
Adventurous, Addictive
the mapmakers apprentice

second in the Glass/Steele series. Not the greatest for a book club discussion but a fun read if you like fantasy series. Read the first one , then this one. Matt and India continue to look for the watch magician to help save Matt's life....can't wait for the third one.

No Time to Die by Kira Peikoff
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
No time to die

n a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging. . .

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.
this was an interesting concept. I did find the characters annoying and not realistic...Zoe and Natalie both seem to lack common sense, no matter whether you want to argue that zoe is 14 or 20. But the storyline raises excellent ethical questions and a good read.

Maiden Flight: A Novel by Harry Haskell
 
Boring, Informative
Maiden Flight

Maiden Flight is the true-life story of the Wright sister who in 1926 left her world-famous and intensely possessive older brother to marry newspaper editor Harry Haskell, the man she loved, and suffered the unhappy consequences. An international celebrity in her own right, Katharine embodied the worldly, independent, and self-fulfilled New Woman of the early twentieth century. Yet she remained in many ways a Victorian. Torn between duty and love, she agonized for months before making her devastating break with Orville at age fifty-two.
this book was written by Harry Haskells grandson. After reading the WRIGHT BROTHERS, it was interesting to read this part of history. But it read like a textbook to me vs a novel... It is told in narrative format between the three main characters. While the content is interesting I can't agree with all the reviewers that gave it 4-5 stars. Found it very dry to read.

Among the Living by Jonathan Rabb
 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Gloomy, Interesting
among the living

I thought the threads in this book were interesting....how two different people feel differently about their experience in the camps and how people in the US would see them, issues of race in th south after WWII. But found that the chapters from the prison camp were confusing and did not enhance the story; not sure I understood the issues of the union and dock workers and what it had to do with the story. Probaby plenty for a book club to talk about,,,not sure i would recommend the book

Say No More: A Jane Ryland Novel by Hank Phillippi Ryan
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Addictive
say no more

When Boston reporter Jane Ryland reports a hit and run, she soon learns she saw more than a car crash—she witnessed the collapse of an alibi. Working on an expose of sexual assaults on college campuses for the station’s new documentary unit, Jane’s just convinced a date rape victim to reveal her heartbreaking experience on camera. However, a disturbing anonymous message—SAY NO MORE—has Jane really and truly scared.

Homicide detective Jake Brogan is on the hunt for the murderer of Avery Morgan, a hot-shot Hollywood screenwriter. Her year as a college guest lecturer just ended at the bottom of her swimming pool in the tight-knit and tight-lipped Boston community called The Reserve. As Jake chips his way through a code of silence as shatterproof as any street gang, he’ll learn that one newcomer to the neighborhood may have a secret of her own.

A young woman faces a life-changing decision—should she go public about her assault? Jane and Jake—now semi-secretly engaged and beginning to reveal their relationship to the world—are both on a quest for answers as they try to balance the consequences of the truth.

this is the 5th in a series by this author and although i have not read any of the previous books, it did not detract from the reading at all. A little confused in the beginning as she introduces all the characters but stick with it because she quickly pulls the threads together. An excellent who done it.

The Magnolia Story by Chip Gaines, Joanna Gaines, Mark Dagostino
 
Inspiring, Optimistic, Fun
the magnolia story

a fun book
Are you ready to see your fixer upper?

These famous words are now synonymous with the dynamic husband-and-wife team Chip and Joanna Gaines, stars of HGTV’s Fixer Upper. As this question fills the airwaves with anticipation, their legions of fans continue to multiply and ask a different series of questions, like—Who are these people?What’s the secret to their success? And is Chip actually that funny in real life? By renovating homes in Waco, Texas, and changing lives in such a winsome and engaging way, Chip and Joanna have become more than just the stars of Fixer Upper, they have become America’s new best friends.

The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.

if you like this show and this couple you will like this book. Easy read, nothing new and exciting but interesting to chronicle how they got where they are today.
but not a book for a book club I wouldn't think

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Romantic
bookshop on the corner

i'd give it a 3.5 Most reviews are very positive and this is a cute little book. not especially deep, and a little bit unrealistic I think . but a good read.
Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more.

Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.

From helping her grumpy landlord deliver a lamb, to sharing picnics with a charming train conductor who serenades her with poetry, Nina discovers there’s plenty of adventure, magic, and soul in a place that’s beginning to feel like home… a place where she just might be able to write her own happy ending.

 
Slow, Boring
the nine of us

a bit superficial, not very deep. portrays a rosy picture

The Littlest Bigfoot by Jennifer Weiner
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Fun

The Perfect Girl: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Brilliant, Insightful

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
they left us everything

So here's an interesting concept -- instead of clearing out our possessions before we die, author Plum Johnson urges us to leave everything for our children to sort -- on the grounds that it will lead them to better understand our lives!

That's what happened when her own parents died, leaving a massive house full of "stuff" ranging from valuable antiques to pockets full of used Kleenex! It took her about a year to sift everything, and her personal journey through the lives of her parents made her a better person, or at least a happier one.

the above is a review by another reader...it IS an interesting concept. And its a good memoir -- many of us have already or will end up doing the same thing Plum Johnson did. Good read

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Scary
I let you go

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary, Interesting, Fantastic
the trespasser

I had difficulty with the "slang" language used in this book since it was set in the UK. it was distracting at times. But if you can get past that, its a good murder mystery and worth the read

Commonwealth by Ann Patchett
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Confusing
Commonwealth

you can read a summary on your own. Very intricate with all the characters you are following. Had a hard time in the beginning and thought about giving up...but so glad I did not. It all comes together in the second half...very real life mixing of two families. Loved the characters. A must read.

When I'm Gone: A Novel by Emily Bleeker
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Unconvincing
when i'm gone

you can read the review...pretty basic...some of it is predictable,some twists and turns. You do think its going to be cheesy in the beginning but it has a lot of good points. Definitely a good read.

Oh My Stars: A Novel by Lorna Landvik
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Brilliant, Life Changing
oh my stars

read the summary....Some reviewers felt it a little too sappy, characters not realistic., too slow a book. I did not think any of this. I thought this was a great story with various threads.....occurs during the depression, the beginnings of rock and roll, race relations, the design world...so many worlds rolled into one story. Excellent read

The Hours Count: A Novel by Jillian Cantor
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
the hours count

On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them again. Brilliantly melding fact and fiction, Jillian Cantor reimagines the life of that neighbor, and the life of Ethel and Julius, an ordinary-seeming Jewish couple who became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War.
The neighbor ,Millie, is not the brightest, but having the story told through her is very interesting. I loved MARGOT and so was anxious to read this book....was not disappointed. It makes me want to read more about the Rosenbergs and their sons. It was an easy read, yet plausible. Definitely recommend this book!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Pointless, Romantic
All the stars in the Heavens

It was interesting to read this after reading a Touch of Stardust , about Clark Gable and Carole Lombard. This one is about the romance between Clark Gable and Loretta Young, although much more about Loretta Young's life and career. IT is fiction. I enjoyed reading it -- maybe I am a sap for old Hollywood romances. And I'm sure we really don't know all that went on in the Golden Age of Hollywood, no matter what biographies have been written. I had not read reviews until after finishing the book and was surprised to see so much criticism of it. However I do understand where people are coming from -- one of the biggest criticisms seemed to be writing about people when there is still family left that could be hurt by some of the story. But Frankly I think that happens all over. I still think its worth the read and I enjoyed it.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Unconvincing
the sound of glass

It has been two years since the death of Merritt Heyward’s husband, Cal, when she receives unexpected news—Cal’s family home in Beaufort, South Carolina, bequeathed by Cal’s reclusive grandmother, now belongs to Merritt.

Charting the course of an uncertain life—and feeling guilt from her husband’s tragic death—Merritt travels from her home in Maine to Beaufort, where the secrets of Cal’s unspoken-of past reside among the pluff mud and jasmine of the ancestral Heyward home on the Bluff. This unknown legacy, now Merritt’s, will change and define her as she navigates her new life—a new life complicated by the arrival of her too young stepmother and ten-year-old half-brother.

Soon, in this house of strangers, Merritt is forced into unraveling the Heyward family past as she faces her own fears and finds the healing she needs in the salt air of the Low Country.
good book Definitely a must read.

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Adventurous
the river at night

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare: A freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

middle of the road book for me. Kind of predictable based on the jacket cover. I wonder how realistic it is in this day and age== I know they are friends but four of them go off to the middle of no where on a trip where they can't find any reviews or online information? not so sure about that. Pia and the guide's relationship did not feel realistic to me. However , a decent read and the relationships between the four friend would make for interesting discussion. Quick , easy read

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Optimistic, Fun
stars over sunset boulevard

would give it 3.5 stars
Los Angeles, Present Day. When an iconic hat worn by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With the Wind ends up in Christine McAllister’s vintage clothing boutique by mistake, her efforts to return it to its owner take her on a journey more enchanting than any classic movie…

Los Angeles, 1938. Violet Mayfield sets out to reinvent herself in Hollywood after her dream of becoming a wife and mother falls apart, and lands a job on the film-set of Gone With the Wind. There, she meets enigmatic Audrey Duvall, a once-rising film star who is now a fellow secretary. Audrey’s zest for life and their adventures together among Hollywood’s glitterati enthrall Violet…until each woman’s deepest desires collide. What Audrey and Violet are willing to risk, for themselves and for each other, to ensure their own happy endings will shape their friendship, and their lives, far into the future.
while it was tedious in some spots, it really is about two girls who become friends and have their ups and downs. I do think there is a LOT to talk about with these two characters. Would have like to see more written about their later life, but maybe that would have ended up being too much. A good read and worth your time.

 
Adventurous, Graphic, Interesting
Stars of Fortuen

have read the whole trilogy.....Bay of Sighs and Island of Glass
A typical Nora Roberts trilogy...three guys, three girls, they get paired off, have great sex, and join forces to make it all right.
If you like her trilogies, you will like this as well. I enjoyed it. I just don't always think her trilogies have a lot for a book club to discuss...i think they are "fun" books to read


To celebrate the rise of their new queen, three goddesses of the moon created three stars, one of fire, one of ice, one of water. But then they fell from the sky, putting the fate of all worlds in danger. And now three women and three men join forces to pick up the pieces…

Sasha Riggs is a reclusive artist, haunted by dreams and nightmares that she turns into extraordinary paintings. Her visions lead her to the Greek island of Corfu, where five others have been lured to seek the fire star. Sasha recognizes them, because she has drawn them: a magician, an archaeologist, a wanderer, a fighter, a loner. All on a quest. All with secrets.

Sasha is the one who holds them together—the seer. And in the magician, Bran Killian, she sees a man of immense power and compassion. As Sasha struggles with her rare ability, Bran is there to support her, challenge her, and believe in her.

But Sasha and Bran are just two of the six. And they all must all work together as a team to find the fire star in a cradle of land beneath the sea. Over their every attempt at trust, unity, and love, a dark threat looms. And it seeks to corrupt everything that stands in its way of possessing the stars… (less)

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Insightful
a gentleman in moscow

Gentleman in Moscow immerses us in another elegantly drawn era with the story of Count Alexander Rostov. When, in 1922, he is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, the count is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him a doorway into a much larger world of emotional discovery

I wasn't going to read this book but so glad I did. Yes its long, but I was caught up from the very beginning. The thread of food and wine was outstanding; the friendships that developed in such an odd time when friendships must have been rare, were wonderful to watch unfold. This is a definite must read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Boring, Dark, Confusing
my dear i wanted to tell you

From the day in 1907 that eleven-year-old Riley Purefoy meets Nadine Waveney, daughter of a well-known orchestral conductor, he takes in the difference between their two families: his, working-class; hers, "posh" and artistic. Just a few years later, romance and these differences erupt simultaneously with the war in Europe. In a fit of fury and boyish pride, Riley enlists in the army and finds himself involved in the transformative nightmare of the twentieth century.

While Riley and his commanding officer, Peter Locke, fight for their country and their survival in the trenches of Flanders, Peter's lovely and naive wife, Julia, and his cousin Rose eagerly await his return. But the sullen, distant man who arrives home on leave is not the Peter they knew. Worried that her husband is slipping away, Julia is left alone with her fears when Rose joins the nursing corps to work with a pioneering plastic surgeon treating wounded and disfigured soldiers.

Only eighteen at the outbreak of the war, Nadine and Riley want to make promises to each other—but how can they when their future is out of their hands? Youthful passion is on their side, but then their loyalty is tested by terrible injury, and even more so by the necessarily imperfect rehabilitation that follows.

I'm sure this would be great for a book club -- lots to discuss and describes the horrors of the first World War which we tend to forget. but I personally didn't care for the writing style and felt the book was just so so. I am glad i finished it -- many times during the first half i wanted to give up. But there were some interesting threads

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Scary, Interesting
we are unprepared

Ash and Pia's move from Brooklyn to the bucolic hills of Vermont was supposed to be a fresh start—a picturesque farmhouse, mindful lifestyle, maybe even children. But just three months in, news breaks of a devastating superstorm expected in the coming months. Fear of the impending disaster divides their tight-knit rural town and exposes the chasms in Ash and Pia's marriage. Ash seeks common ground with those who believe in working together for the common good. Pia teams up with "preppers" who want to go off the grid and war with the rest of the locals over whom to trust and how to protect themselves. Where Isole had once been a town of old farm families, yuppie transplants and beloved rednecks, they divide into paranoid preppers, religious fanatics and government tools.

This was a fair book - - It was a bit confusing when Ash goes back and forth in time, I really didn't feel connected to Pia. Worth the read but not the best I ever read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Epic, Dramatic, Adventurous
the shepherdess of sienna

Raised by her aunt and uncle amidst the rolling hills of the Tuscan countryside, young orphan Virginia Tacci has always harbored a deep love for horses—though she knows she may never have the chance to ride. As a shepherdess in sixteenth-century Italy, Virginia’s possibilities are doubly limited by her peasant class and her gender. Yet while she tends her flock, Virginia is captivated by the daring equestrian feats of the high-spirited Isabella de’ Medici, who rides with the strength and courage of any man, much to the horror of her brother, the tyrannical Gran Duca Francesco de’ Medici.

Inspired, the young shepherdess keeps one dream close to her heart: to race in Siena’s Palio. Twenty-six years after Florence captured Siena, Virginia’s defiance will rally the broken spirit of the Senese people and threaten the pernicious reign of the Gran Duca.

Iloved this book - its like reading the history of Tuscany and some of the de Medici family.

Pretending to Dance: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
pretending to dance

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?
Good read!!

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Addictive
all th wonderful and ugly things

As the daughter of a meth dealer, Wavy knows not to trust people, not even her own parents. Struggling to raise her little brother, eight-year-old Wavy is the only responsible "adult" around. She finds peace in the starry Midwestern night sky above the fields behind her house. One night everything changes when she witnesses one of her father's thugs, Kellen, a tattooed ex-con with a heart of gold, wreck his motorcycle. What follows is a powerful and shocking love story between two unlikely people that asks tough questions, reminding us of all the ugly and wonderful things that life has to offer.
this is a controversial book with a lot of threads going through it that are not easy to read about. It's also emotionally draining. Having said that , I thought it was well written and really liked it. Not going to be for everyone though.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
counted with the stars

Sold into slavery by her father and forsaken by the man she was supposed to marry, young Egyptian Kiya must serve a mistress who takes pleasure in her humiliation. When terrifying plagues strike Egypt, Kiya is in the middle of it all.

To save her older brother and escape the bonds of slavery, Kiya flees with the Hebrews during the Great Exodus. She finds herself utterly dependent on a fearsome God she's only just beginning to learn about, and in love with a man who despises her people. With everything she's ever known swept away, will Kiya turn back toward Egypt or surrender her life and her future to Yahweh?

Biblical fiction about the Exodus. Good read

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Addictive
last bus to wisdom

Donal Cameron is being raised by his grandmother, the cook at the legendary Double W ranch in Ivan Doig’s beloved Two Medicine Country of the Montana Rockies, a landscape that gives full rein to an eleven-year-old’s imagination. But when Gram has to have surgery for “female trouble” in the summer of 1951, all she can think to do is to ship Donal off to her sister in faraway Manitowoc, Wisconsin. There Donal is in for a rude surprise: Aunt Kate–bossy, opinionated, argumentative, and tyrannical—is nothing like her sister. She henpecks her good-natured husband, Herman the German, and Donal can’t seem to get on her good side either. After one contretemps too many, Kate packs him back to the authorities in Montana on the next Greyhound. But as it turns out, Donal isn’t traveling solo: Herman the German has decided to fly the coop with him.
Coming of age story. First one I have read by this author and will try some of his other book. This was an excellent read!

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Romantic
The True Memoirs of Little K

Exiled in Paris, the frail, elderly Mathilde Kschessinska sits down to write her memoirs. A lifetime ago, she was the vain, ambitious, impossibly charming prima ballerina assoluta of the tsar’s Russian Imperial Ballet in St. Petersburg. Kschessinska’s riveting storytelling soon thrusts us into a world lost to time: that great intersection of the Russian court and the Russian theater. Through Kschessinska’s memories of her own triumphs and defeats, we witness the stories that changed history, from the seething beginnings of revolution to the end of a grand, decadent way of life that belonged to the nineteenth century. Based on fact, The True Memoirs of Little K is “an engrossing tale of love, loss, and historyâ€
if you like historical fiction you will like this I think. I did find that it was a book that you had to pay attention to while reading. However I did not find it a dry fiction read. It was entertaining and I Loved the history part. Definitely a good read for me.

Where I Lost Her by T. Greenwood
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Difficult, Confusing
where I lost her

Eight years ago, Tess and Jake were considered a power couple of the New York publishing world--happy, in love, planning a family. Failed fertility treatments and a heartbreaking attempt at adoption have fractured their marriage and left Tess edgy and adrift. A visit to friends in rural Vermont throws Tess's world into further chaos when she sees a young, half-dressed child in the middle of the road, who then runs into the woods like a frightened deer.

The entire town begins searching for the little girl. But there are no sightings, no other witnesses, no reports of missing children. As local police and Jake point out, Tess's imagination has played her false before. And yet Tess is compelled to keep looking, not only to save the little girl she can't forget but to salvage her broken heart as well.
i enjoy reading this author, but this was not my favorite book. I found it difficult to follow the adoption story and didn't really get it until the end. There is much here for discussion for a book club however so for some it may be a worthwhile read. I just didn't care for it

The Glasswrights' Apprentice by Mindy L. Klasky
 
Unconvincing, Dark, Confusing
the glasswright apprentice

A mere glasswrights' apprentice must uncover an elusive brotherhood whose deadly venom reaches out to stain the heart of her guild, the heart of her family -- and the heart of her king....

first in a series..am glad i did not buy the others in the series...not a particular good read. just ok, now written very well, character not really believable.

The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent
 
Difficult, Dark, Confusing
the memory watcher

When Autumn Carpenter stumbles upon the social media account of the family who adopted her infant daughter years ago, she finds herself instantly drawn into their picture-perfect existence.

From behind a computer screen, Autumn watches Grace's every memory, from birthdays to holidays to bedtime snuggles. But what starts as an innocent fascination spirals into an addictive obsession met with a screeching halt the day the McMullen family closes their Instaface account without so much as a warning.

Frantic and desperate to reconnect with her daughter, Autumn applies for a nanny position with the McMullens, manipulating herself into Grace's life under false pretenses. And it's only then that Autumn discovers pictures lie, the perfect family doesn't exist, and beautiful people? They have the ugliest secrets

I have to disagree with most of the reviews...i'd give this a 2.5 stars...I had to get 2/3 of the way through before it really got me interested. I know with psychological thrillers you can't get too much information in the beginning...but you really got nothing that would make you interested in these characters. not my favorite.

 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Insightful, Inspiring
the one in a million boy

The story of your life never starts at the beginning. Don't they teach you anything at school?
So says 104-year-old Ona to the 11-year-old boy who's been sent to help her out every Saturday morning. As he refills the bird feeders and tidies the garden shed, Ona tells him about her long life, from first love to second chances. Soon she's confessing secrets she has kept hidden for decades.

Ona is set to discover that even at her age the world can surprise you, and that sometimes sharing a loss is the only way to find yourself again. (
without giving the book away --- the young boy dies and his father is tasked with completing the boys's commitment to Ona. Which he does. The boys parents (who are divorced), On a, and others, all grieve differently throughout the book and develop relationships they might not have developed if it had not been for the boy.
An interesting book...there were ways I did not like the writing...but I enjoyed the concept and how the relationships developed. Worth the read.

Henry's Sisters by Cathy Lamb
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Beautiful
Henry's sisters

Ever since the Bommarito sisters were little girls, their mother, River, has written them a letter on pink paper when she has something especially important to impart. And this time, the message is urgent and impossible to ignore--River requires open-heart surgery, and Isabelle and her sisters are needed at home to run the family bakery and take care of their brother and ailing grandmother.

Isabelle has worked hard to leave Trillium River, Oregon, behind as she travels the globe taking award-winning photographs. It's not that Isabelle hates her family. On the contrary, she and her sisters Cecilia, an outspoken kindergarten teacher, and Janie, a bestselling author, share a deep, loving bond. And all of them adore their brother, Henry, whose disabilities haven't stopped him from helping out at the bakery and bringing good cheer to everyone in town.

But going home again has a way of forcing open the secrets and hurts that the Bommaritos would rather keep tightly closed--Isabelle's fleeting and too-frequent relationships, Janie's obsessive compulsive disorder, and Cecilia's self-destructive streak and grief over her husband's death. Working together to look after Henry and save their flagging bakery, Isabelle and her sisters begin to find answers to questions they never knew existed, unexpected ways to salve the wounds of their childhoods, and the courage to grasp surprising new chances at happiness.

excellent story...but make sure you have tissues for the end!

 
Unconvincing, Fantastic, Confusing
a wrinkle in time

our book club decided to read this book and I was excited because I had never read it Even when it wa one of my son's favorite books growing up . I realize in the time that it was written there were few girl heroines who were into math. My reads were really Nancy Drew, cherry ames, bobbsey twins, etc. I have to say I'm not a fan of this book. I do agree it was probably different for its time. but I didn't find anything alluring about the character Meg, and thought the ending very abrupt. Sorry.

 
Inspiring, Insightful, Informative
the little book of hygge

Denmark is often said to be the happiest country in the world. That's down to one thing: hygge.

'Hygge has been translated as everything from the art of creating intimacy to cosiness of the soul to taking pleasure from the presence of soothing things. My personal favourite is cocoa by candlelight...'

You know hygge when you feel it. It is when you are cuddled up on a sofa with a loved one, or sharing comfort food with your closest friends. It is those crisp blue mornings when the light through your window is just right.

points are well taken....although they are no brainers. which is what i think people who rated this low are trying to say. however the point they seem to be missing is that yes, they are no brainers but we still don't seem to do them! And it IS easier if you live in a socialized country to adopt this kind of lifestyle. Are workers in the US ever going to leave the workplace by 4 or 5pm? I doubt it.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Confusing
sisters one two three

i give this a three to 3.5
After a tragic accident on Martha’s Vineyard, keeping secrets becomes a way of life for the Tangle family. With memories locked away, the sisters take divergent paths. Callie disappears, Mimi keeps so busy she has no time to think, and Ginger develops a lifelong aversion to risk that threatens the relationships she holds most dear.

When a whispered comment overheard by her rebellious teenage daughter forces Ginger to reveal a long-held family secret, the Tangles’ carefully constructed web of lies begins to unravel. Upon the death of Glory, the family’s colorful matriarch, and the return of long-estranged Callie, Ginger resolves to return to Martha’s Vineyard and piece together what really happened on that calamitous day when a shadow fell over four sun-kissed siblings playing at the shore. Along with Ginger’s newfound understanding come the keys to reconciliation: with her mother, with her sisters, and with her daughter.

At turns heartbreaking, humorous, and hopeful, Sisters One, Two, Three explores not only the consequences of secrets—even secrets kept out of love—but also the courage it takes to speak the truth, to forgive, and to let go.

i had mixed feeling about this book. I did not like Glory at all; was annoyed with Ginger's relationship with her husband and daughter, thought we maybe did not get enough information about Julia growing up to understand why she rebelled against her mother. Then just when I was really disliking the book, the last quarter of it started pulling things together, giving it a purpose and explaining somewhat why everyone was the way they were. I think a read is still going to have parts they dislike, parts of the story not totally pulled together, etc. But still a worthwhile read and lots there for group discussion!

The Sleepwalker: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Insightful
the sleepwalker

When Annalee Ahlberg goes missing, her children fear the worst. Annalee is a sleepwalker whose affliction manifests in ways both bizarre and devastating. Once, she merely destroyed the hydrangeas in front of her Vermont home. More terrifying was the night her older daughter, Lianna, pulled her back from the precipice of the Gale River bridge.

The morning of Annalee's disappearance, a search party combs the nearby woods. Annalee's husband, Warren, flies home from a business trip. Lianna is questioned by a young, hazel-eyed detective. And her little sister, Paige, takes to swimming the Gale to look for clues. When the police discover a small swatch of fabric, a nightshirt, ripped and hanging from a tree branch, it seems certain Annalee is dead, but Gavin Rikert, the hazel-eyed detective, continues to call, continues to stop by the Ahlbergs' Victorian home.

As Lianna peels back the layers of mystery surrounding Annalee's disappearance, she finds herself drawn to Gavin, but she must ask herself: Why does the detective know so much about her mother? Why did Annalee leave her bed only when her father was away? And if she really died while sleepwalking, where was the body?
I do find it unrealistic that a policeman would act the way Gavin did , suppressing evidence. Not my most favorite of this authors' books...just an ok read

Glory over Everything by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Inspiring
glory over everything

The year is 1830 and Jamie Pyke, a celebrated silversmith and notorious ladies' man, is keeping a deadly secret. Passing as a wealthy white aristocrat in Philadelphian society, Jamie is now living a life he could never have imagined years before when he was a runaway slave, son of a southern black slave and her master. But Jamie's carefully constructed world is threatened when he discovers that his married socialite lover, Caroline, is pregnant and his beloved servant Pan, to whose father Jamie owes his own freedom, has been captured and sold into slavery in the South.
Fleeing the consequences of his deceptions, Jamie embarks on a trip to a North Carolina plantation to save Pan from the life he himself barely escaped as a boy. With the help of a fearless slave, Sukey, who has taken the terrified young boy under her wing, Jamie navigates their way, racing against time and their ruthless pursuers through the Virginia backwoods, the Underground Railroad, and the treacherous Great Dismal Swamp.
this was a pretty good read. The character of Jamie was not my favorite. While i was taking into consideration the era he was supposed to be in , and how conflicted he was about his race, he was still an adult when he went to rescue Pan. And yet he had a very difficult time listening to the advice and recommendations of others. Which is what got him into trouble.

 
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
Dark tide

round noon on January 15, 1919, a group of firefighters was playing cards in Boston's North End when they heard a tremendous crash. It was like roaring surf, one of them said later. Like a runaway two-horse team smashing through a fence, said another. A third firefighter jumped up from his chair to look out a window-"Oh my God!" he shouted to the other men, "Run!"

A 50-foot-tall steel tank filled with 2.3 million gallons of molasses had just collapsed on Boston's waterfront, disgorging its contents as a 15-foot-high wave of molasses that at its outset traveled at 35 miles an hour. It demolished wooden homes, even the brick fire station. The number of dead wasn't known for days. It would be years before a landmark court battle determined who was responsible for the disaster.
Not a great read , however well written for historical non fiction which can be boring at times. If you didn't live in Boston, this is an interesting story and also gives some insight into the labor movement at this time in history.

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Confusing, Boring
swimming lessons

Ingrid Coleman writes letters to her husband, Gil, about the truth of their marriage, but instead of giving them to him, she hides them in the thousands of books he has collected over the years. When Ingrid has written her final letter she disappears from a Dorset beach, leaving behind her beautiful but dilapidated house by the sea, her husband, and her two daughters, Flora and Nan.

Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid from a bookshop window, but he’s getting older and this unlikely sighting is chalked up to senility. Flora, who has never believed her mother drowned, returns home to care for her father and to try to finally discover what happened to Ingrid. But what Flora doesn’t realize is that the answers to her questions are hidden in the books that surround her. Scandalous and whip-smart, Swimming Lessons holds the Coleman family up to the light, exposing the mysterious truths of a passionate and troubled marriage.

there was very little I liked about this book --I definitely did not like the characters....found nothing redeeming about them. I honestly didn't get the high ratings other readers gave it. Left me with a lot of questions -- had Gil found all the notes Ingrid wrote and left in the books? Is that why he burned them all? Flora seemed so unreasonable and in la la land to me. OF course the big question is what is really Ingrid in the end? Lots to talk about for a book club - but not my favorite story

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Inspiring
LIllian Boxfish Takes a Walk

It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.
As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.

A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.

This book is based on the life of Margaret Fishback who was a poet and ad writer for Macy's in the 30's. I believe i may have to take the author up on reading some of her poetry and books. Surprisingly to me, I loved this book. Not sure all her encounters are realistic in real life, but I loved reading her summary of her life as she wanders the streets of NYC on new Years eve. Would definitely recommend this. Excellent read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun, Adventurous
Pancakes in Paris

I might not have picked this book up to read if I had not seen it advertised in a local bookstores newsletter for an event with the author. I found the concept interesting so decided to go. Therefore I HAD to read the book. I do like reading memoirs - but some can be a bit dry. I was totally not disappointed by this book!! It was a great read. I at first thought it would be boring to read about the business side of this venture, but the author has a great writing style and there is plenty of humor in this! As other reviewers have noted....seems much easier to be an employee vs employer in France. And I'm not sure I wouldn't have quit if it were me. But the author stuck to his dream, learned a lot, and evidently has quite the tourist destination in his diner! A very good read. Highly recommend it

Craig Carlson was the last person anyone would expect to open an American diner in Paris. He came from humble beginnings in a working-class town in Connecticut, had never worked in a restaurant, and didn't know anything about starting a brand-new business. But from his first visit to Paris, Craig knew he had found the city of his dreams, although one thing was still missing-the good ol' American breakfast he loved so much.

Pancakes in Paris is the story of Craig tackling the impossible-from raising the money to fund his dream to tracking down international suppliers for "exotic" American ingredients... and even finding love along the way. His diner, Breakfast In America, is now a renowned tourist destination, and the story of how it came to be is just as delicious and satisfying as the classic breakfast that tops its menu. (less)

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Little Deaths

his book was inspired by a true story. I did have to keep reminding myself that it was taking place in the mid 60's.....its made that clear in the beginning. SPOILER: it was a very good murder mystery but brought up a lot of questions at the end when you finally find out who did it....like why didn't they investigate the father better than they did? did the neighbor make up the whole story about the couple on the street at 2am?
Definitely worth the read.!

t's 1965 in a tight-knit working-class neighborhood in Queens, New York, and Ruth Malone--a single mother who works long hours as a cocktail waitress--wakes to discover her two small children, Frankie Jr. and Cindy, have gone missing. Later that day, Cindy's body is found in a derelict lot a half mile from her home, strangled. Ten days later, Frankie Jr.'s decomposing body is found. Immediately, all fingers point to Ruth.

As police investigate the murders, the detritus of Ruth's life is exposed. Seen through the eyes of the cops, the empty bourbon bottles and provocative clothing which litter her apartment, the piles of letters from countless men and Ruth's little black book of phone numbers, make her a drunk, a loose woman--and therefore a bad mother. The lead detective, a strict Catholic who believes women belong in the home, leaps to the obvious conclusion: facing divorce and a custody battle, Malone took her children's lives.

Pete Wonicke is a rookie tabloid reporter who finagles an assignment to cover the murders. Determined to make his name in the paper, he begins digging into the case. Pete's interest in the story develops into an obsession with Ruth, and he comes to believe there's something more to the woman whom prosecutors, the press, and the public have painted as a promiscuous femme fatale. Did Ruth Malone violently kill her own children, is she a victim of circumstance--or is there something more sinister at play?

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting
lincolns bodyguard

In "Lincoln s Bodyguard," an alternative version of American history, President Lincoln is saved from assassination. Though he prophesied his own death the only way he believed the South would truly surrender Lincoln never accounted for the heroics of his bodyguard, Joseph Foster. A biracial mix of white and Miami Indian, Joseph makes an enemy of the South by killing John Wilkes Booth and preventing the death of the president. His wife is murdered and his daughter kidnapped, sending Joseph on a revenge-fueled rampage to recover his daughter. When his search fails, he disappears as the nation falls into a simmering insurgency instead of an end to the War. Years later, Joseph is still running from his past when he receives a letter from Lincoln pleading for help. The President has a secret mission. Pursued from the outset, Joseph turns to the only person who might help, the woman he abandoned years earlier. If he can win Molly over, he might just fulfill the President s urgent request, find his daughter, and maybe even hasten the end of the War."

interesting concept; especially as the author looks at certain points i.e. what would have happened if the southern generals had not surrendered like Lee did; etc. Not a bad read and an interesting concept.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
Just Mercy

I probably would not have picked this book up to read if it had not been a book club choice. I agree with many other readers -- it is a must read. I really did not understand the system and how easily people are determined guilty with little to no evidence or without looking at circumstances. It was certainly an eye opener and has much for discussion.
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dramatic, Interesting
the twelve lives of samuel hawley

After years spent living on the run, Samuel Hawley moves with his teenage daughter, Loo, to Olympus, Massachusetts. There, in his late wife's hometown, Hawley finds work as a fisherman, while Loo struggles to fit in at school and grows curious about her mother's mysterious death. Haunting them both are twelve scars Hawley carries on his body, from twelve bullets in his criminal past; a past that eventually spills over into his daughter's present, until together they must face a reckoning yet to come. This father-daughter epic weaves back and forth through time and across America, from Alaska to the Adirondacks.
there are many reasons I should not like this book - all have been in other reviews: its violent; should a man such as Hawley be raising a child?; Loo 's lack of conscience, etc. etc
However...I really did like it. I thought it was intriguing to tell the tale through the twelve bullet hole in his body, there were redeeming qualities about Samuel. Not sure if I did or did not like the grandmother. The other characters were not so realistic - the boyfriend, the principal, the boyfriends mother.
Definiteliy an interesting and good read.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Dramatic, Dark
The Final Day

This is the last in a series with One Second After being the first book. That is probably th ebook I would recommend for a book club to discuss. then read the following two. This is a very real and scary premise and should make us all nervous! and should make us all preppers

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Scary, Addictive
the widow's house

a good thriller; good ghost story; it keeps you guessing until the end and still leaves you with questions. Thought this was a very good read.
When Jess and Clare Martin move from Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to their former college town in the Hudson River valley, they are hoping for rejuvenation—of their marriage, their savings, and Jess's writing career.

They take a caretaker's job at Riven House, a crumbling estate and the home of their old college writing professor. While Clare once had dreams of being a writer, those plans fell by the wayside when Jess made a big, splashy literary debut in their twenties. It's been years, now, since his first novel. The advance has long been spent. Clare's hope is that the pastoral beauty and nostalgia of the Hudson Valley will offer some inspiration.

But their new life isn't all quaint town libraries and fragrant apple orchards. There is a haunting pall that hangs over Riven House like a funeral veil. Something is just not right. Soon, Clare begins to hear babies crying at night, and sees strange figures in fog at the edge of their property. Diving into the history of the area, she realizes that Riven House has a dark and anguished past. And whatever this thing is—this menacing force that destroys the inhabitants of the estate—it seems to be after Clare next

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic
now and then

Anna O'Shea has failed at marriage, shed her job at a law firm, and she's trying to re-create herself when she and her recalcitrant nephew are summoned to the past in a manner that nearly destroys them. Her twenty-first-century skills pale as she struggles to find her nephew in nineteenth-century Ireland. For one of them, the past is brutally difficult, filled with hunger and struggle. For the other, the past is filled with privilege, status, and a reprieve from the crushing pain of present-day life. For both Anna and her nephew, the past offers them a chance at love.
The past and present wrap around finely wrought characters who reveal the road home. Mystical, charming, and fantastic, New York Times bestselling author Jacqueline Sheehan's Now & Then is a poignant and beautiful tale of a remarkable journey. It is a miraculous evocation of a breathtaking place in a volatile age filled with rich, unforgettable, deeply human characters and one unforgettable dog named Madigan.

I liked this book although I did feel you got thrown into the time travel part abruptly without a lot of explanation on what is happening. you don't really get it til the end of the book Why the book jacket describes the dog Madigan I have no clue...its not a major character although the author does link the wolfhound to the Irish but I only felt this as a more subtle thread. the ending was a bit abrupt for me...i would have liked the explanation to take longer..it felt rushed to me. ZBut the book was a good read

Eternal on the Water by Joseph Monninger
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Addictive
Eternal on the water

From the day Cobb and Mary meet kayaking on Maine's Allagash River and fall deeply in love, the two approach life with the same sense of adventure they use to conquer the river's treacherous rapids. But rivers do not let go so easily...and neither does their love. So when Mary's life takes the cruelest turn, she vows to face those rough waters on her own terms and asks Cobb to promise, when the time comes, to help her return to their beloved river for one final journey.

Set against the rugged wilderness of Maine, the exotic islands of Indonesia, the sweeping panoramas of Yellowstone National Park, and the tranquil villages of rural New England, Eternal on the Water is at once heartbreaking and uplifting ? a timeless, beautifully rendered story of true love's power.

So....Some will see this as a "schmaltz " kind of book -- you know the ending from the very beginning. Its not the deepest book I've ever read. Some will say its too sappy, sad, etc. All that might be true. However......I loved the characters, I loved the chungamunger camp girls and the story of their adventures. I loved the crow stories that Mary told, and I loved how it was about her living, not dying. Keep your tissues close by....but I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

 
Optimistic, Insightful
the mighty queens of freewill

Amy Dickinson has made a career out of helping others, through her internationally syndicated advice column "Ask Amy." Readers love her for her honesty, her small-town values, and for the fact that her motto is "I make the mistakes so you don't have to." In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares those mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent. Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women of her family taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. It is a story of frequent failures and surprising successes, as Amy starts and loses careers, bumbles through blind dates and adult education classes, travels across the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family's aptitude for "dorkitude." Though they live in London, D.C., and Chicago, all roads lead them back to her hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy's family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within a ten-house radius of each other. With kindness and razor-sharp wit, they welcome Amy and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.

a quick easy read. parts i liked and parts i did find a bit boring. However I salute the fact that this seems to be a wonderful family of women who stuck together and were always there for each other. worth the read

The Atomic Weight of Love: A Novel by Elizabeth J. Church
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Interesting
the atomic weight of love

In 1941, at seventeen years old, Meridian begins her ornithology studies at the University of Chicago. She is soon drawn to Alden Whetstone, a brilliant, complicated physics professor who opens her eyes to the fundamentals and poetry of his field, the beauty of motion, space and time, the delicate balance of force and energy that allows a bird to fly.

Entranced and in love, Meridian defers her own career path and follows Alden west to Los Alamos, where he is engaged in a secret government project (later known to be the atomic bomb). In married life, though, she feels lost and left behind. She channels her academic ambitions into studying a particular family of crows, whose free life and companionship are the very things that seem beyond her reach. There in her canyons, years later at the dawn of the 1970s, with counterculture youth filling the streets and protests against the war rupturing college campuses across the country, Meridian meets Clay, a young geologist and veteran of the Vietnam War, and together they seek ways to mend what the world has broken.

so after I read this book I read the other reviews...both positive and negative. All very interesting. You should definitely read the less starred reviews. I can see some points in their criticism. I don't always agree but I can see it You will like this book or not...just as with any other book Personally I loved the story and had to keep reminding myself of the time period in which it took place. We tend to forget the role of women in those times. Definitely a lot of discussion for a book club!

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